A place where people regain their power

A place where people regain their power

Twenty-five years ago when London InterCommunity Health Centre began, there were four staff members. Anthoula Doumkou, now the Planning and Community Programs Manager, was one of them. The first of its kind in London, LIHC offered and continues to provide a health promotions model of care that works with clients through all stages of life.

Poverty is pricey

More than 2100 families were waiting for affordable homes as of December of last year.

An average of 3000 people per month use the London Food Bank.

Approximately 80% of London InterCommunity Health Centre clients have incomes in the lowest and second lowest income bracket.

$7.3M of the London Police budget will be spent on events involving individuals identified as having “definite or probable serious mental illness”.

Ontario spends 2.9B per year on poverty induced healthcare costs. Across Canada, it’s $7.6B per year.  In total, poverty costs more than $72B annually.

And poverty costs YOU...between $2300-2900 per household per year.

Healthcare is an Economic Tsunami

The average hospital stay in Canada costs nearly $7,000 per patient.

One HIV/AIDS diagnosis cost Canadians 1.3M over the lifetime. Testing is prevention! The Options Clinic at the Health Centre's Options Clinic provides free, anonymous HIV testing to anyone.  

The economic burden of diabetes in Ontario was more than $5B in 2010 and is expected to rise to $6.9B by 2020.

The economic burden of mental illness is estimated at $51B per year.

CHCs (Community Health Centres) advocate for healthy public policy to eradicate poverty, calling for things like an increased minimum wage, or guaranteed annual income.
 
CHCs work on breaking the cycle and stigma of poverty to empower people, and connect them with services and resources that lift them out of the cycle of poverty. At a grassroots level, this means providing people with knowledge and resources, social support, or assistance with navigating broader systems.
 
CHCs keep people well through health promotion and illness prevention programs, to reduce the burden on hospitals and ERs. We provide HIV testing, diabetes education and management that prevent costly complications, smoking cessation resources, community programs, and more.
 
CHCs address the social determinants of health like income, food security, housing, social inclusion/exclusion, and community vitality, in order to keep people healthy and well. This means a healthier community for all of us and less money spent on healthcare, policing, criminal justice, and EMS calls.

Hospitals account for the greatest share of health spending in Canada.

ONTARIO COULD CREATE DOZENS OF NEW CHCS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE HOSPITAL.

Treating symptoms vs. looking at what really makes us sick

A holistic approach to health care optimizes community wellness, creates stronger communities, and improves quality of life for everyone.

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The traditional approach to health care is to treat a symptom.

60% of our health care concerns are directly related to our working and living conditions, yet we spend the majority of our health care budget on hospitals where we treat symptoms.

We need to stop treating symptoms and start addressing the root factors that lead to illness. 

Instead of waiting for people to get sick, a holistic approach to health care focuses on prevention, promoting health and working toward overall well-being. This approach to health care considers the bigger picture, including the health of the broader community. Community Health Centres like London InterCommunity give better service by creating a unique system of care:

Where all are welcome...

  • Accessible. Remove the barriers between the service and the people who need it, like ensuring accessible buildings, websites and hours, offering interpreters and helping with transportation to the centre.
  • Anti-oppressive and culturally safe. It’s about respect and equality.

Where we focus on wellness...

  • Population and needs-based. The right care for those who need it the most. Ensuring limited resources go to the places and people with the greatest need.

  • Interprofessional, Integrated and Coordinated. Health care providers working collaboratively as a team to meet a variety of client needs. Letting each professional do their job to their fullest capacity.

Where we respond to social and community need...

  • Based on the determinants of health. Housing, employment, income, food security, social inclusion and education are all part of a healthy life. By building programs that address these elements, better outcomes happen.

  • Grounded in a Community Development Approach. Build programs with the community, and support community members as they take ownership of the development, stewardship and growth of those programs. Programs like community gardens give participants  a chance to take charge and give back to their neighbours.

Where transparency and collective voice is valued...

  • Community governed. The Health Centre serves the community, and the community has a strong voice in how the Centre is run.

  • Accountable and Efficient. Everyone involved in the Health Centre needs to know that the programs are achieving their goals and the money is well spent.

To ensure a more proactive, wellness-focused system, we have to think differently about how we approach our health.  It's time to move beyond symptoms and tackle what really makes us sick.