College Of The Rockies Research Shows The Vital Role Cranbrook Family Connections Has In Community
College of the Rockies’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing instructor Shawna Ryan and Gwen Noble, Executive Director, Community Connections Society of Southeast British Columbia, recently partnered on an applied research project aimed at understanding and improving health and social services to area residents.
Cranbrook Family Connections (CFC), a hub of services offered by the Community Connections Society of Southeast British Columbia, has been providing programs and services to Cranbrook and the East Kootenay region for 36 years.
“As a non-profit organization, CFC is reliant on external funding, which is why we need to explicitly understand and be able to convey our collective impact on health and social service in our community,” said Noble. “We knew that partnering with College of the Rockies would give us access to reliable, detailed research and robust data that we could use to accurately communicate the important work we do here and what it means for our clients and community.”
Ryan’s specific objective was to assess the advantages of a co-located, comprehensive, and collective approach to the delivery of social and health services, gather demographic data of CFC clients, and evaluate the diversion of CFC clients from emergency and other health care services.
The research resulted in a Collective Impact Report, which will be used to support CFC’s applications for funding. It will also be circulated to local dignitaries and community leaders to help inform them on underserved populations.
“Research results verified much of what CFC staff knew anecdotally,” said Ryan. “Clients access multiple services during a single visit, as well as over the course of their visits to CFC, validating the belief that having multiple health and social services located under one roof makes CFC more effective.”
“Those who are accessing services are primarily females (72 percent) who are young to middle-aged adults. Most clients would be considered low-income and many have dependents. The research also supported the belief that many clients access CFC on a regular (weekly or monthly) basis.”
Of the 161 clients surveyed, 53 indicated that if the health and social services at CFC were not available, they would have gone to their physician, nurse practitioner and/or the emergency room instead.
“This demonstrates the significant impact of the CFC,” Noble added. “Having these services available under one roof results in us being able to divert clients from further taxing an already congested public health care system.”
Eighty-five respondents indicated that they would go “nowhere” if it were not for CFC services, highlighting the important role the CFC plays in decreasing social isolation of its clientele.
Going forward, Noble is confident this research will help with future funding applications.
“This data clearly demonstrates the demographics of CFC’s current clientele and also showed segments of the population that may be underserved,” Noble added. “This information not only bolsters our ongoing funding applications but provides valuable information for applying for funds to serve additional client groups.”