fraser valleyPositive Living Fraser Valley Society (PLFV)     Prevention Assessment Resource Clinic (PARC)

Positive Living Fraser Valley Society is a multi-faceted non-profit registered charity organization that provides wrap around services to those persons who are at risk of HIV, Viral Hepatitis or other Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections. As part of those services PLFV outreaches to homeless individuals and those addicted to drugs providing Harm Reduction supplies, transport to medical treatment and detox as well as support and referral services for housing, addiction services, specialist services, mental health and probation. Since the inception of the Harm Reduction services PLFV has been completely inundated with requests for services and in fact the new clients accessing services has increased 132% in less than a year. In the past 3 years our statistics for client services jumped over 900%. The Abbotsford area has the highest rates of Hepatitis C in British Columbia and has a well- documented, publicized homeless/addiction problem.  For this reason PLFV has implemented the following initiative. PLFV has established infrastructure and experienced professional staffing to implement such as complex program.

What PARC offers:

PLFV has established a Centre that provides immediate services to those most vulnerable of the populations within the Abbotsford region. At this centre, clients will access meals, personal hygiene services, support services including addictions, methadone, naloxone trainings, daily nurse practitioner clinics, housing, referrals to other services and transportation to services including detox and treatment options and can participate in group sessions (HIV, Viral Hepatitis prevention/support, Overdose prevention, Addictions services  (including detox and recovery options and referrals),  Housing  (preparation and assistance for being housed). The main goals of this centre will be

  1. Overall health of the individuals served.
  2. Access to nutrition.
  3. Mental health assessment and supportive services
  4. Addictions/treatment/recovery assessment, referral and support.
  5. Detox, Treatment and Recovery referrals.

This initiative is in partnership with other concerned community leaders such as Dr. John Farley (HCV Specialist), Dr. Johan Wouterloot (HIV and Addictions Specialist), Mental Health, Abbotsford Addictions Services, Fraser Health Authority (nurse practitioner), and Lookout Society (housing) and all referrals and input/participation from any other service providers and potential partners that work with the target populations are welcomed.

The PARC initiative is without direct funding with the exception of some monies from Mac AIDS and BC Gaming for food supplies only. Fraser Health supplies a Nurse Practitioner who works 4 days a week out of our location.

We initially created PARC because we had a large population of street entrenched individuals beginning to access our mainstream ASO services which caused a great deal of conflict amongst our long term HIV and HCV+ clients that were stable, housed and adherent to treatment. Many of them were in recovery and did not want to co-exist with active addiction. These more stable clients were refusing to access our services because they did not feel safe coming in and having to be in the same areas as the street entrenched clients. Thus putting them at some risk by not having the support systems they had been relying on for the past 10 years since our inception.  Recognising that something had to be done as there were no other agencies actively providing health related services to the street entrenched populations we created PARC (the Prevention Assessment Referral Clinic) with the main goal of stabilizing this high risk vulnerable population. We had to move to another location that allowed us to have two separate drop in areas accessed by different doors and entirely separated. Meanwhile Fraser Health liked the idea and realized that we had developed trusting relationships with the most hard to engage population who were most in need of medical care and provided a Nurse Practitioner to see the PARC clients. She started three days a week and has now increased to 4 days per week as the demand continues to increase.

PARC clients receive a daily nutritional bagged lunch (nutrition on the go) usually accompanied by a hug from a caring and supportive PARC staff member. The clients have the ability to sleep on the couches during the day, drink coffee, eat, see the Nurse, get help with obtaining ID and other documents they need to access financial supports and getting help being accepted into shelters. We work with the client and often times their families to stabilize them as much as possible, assess their immediate needs, refer them and accompany them to other support systems and offer in house education on Nalaxone training, Overdose Prevention, pre-contemplative discussions around detox and treatment options, reconnecting with support systems and family/friends and looking after legal issues as well. We also provide lockers for clients to store personal belongings that they don’t want to lose (ID, Pictures of family etc.)  In all it’s a wrap around service provision that is proving to be immensely effective and has grown continually over the two years it’s been running.

This month we have also implemented the MORE program (Medical Outreach Referral Engagement) that works out of PARC. Through a grant from ViiV Healthcare we have a dedicated staff person working with the street entrenched individuals and the Nurse Practitioner (provided by Fraser Health). This position tracks all patient referrals and appointments including diagnostics and ensures the patient gets to the appointment and accompanies the patient into the appointment if necessary and requested. The position also encourages testing for HIV and HCV and thus far in two weeks has had 4 people tested, two sent to detox and provided transport to a large number of patients and has literally saved the life of a pregnant mom and her baby. The savings to Fraser Health are going to be substantial. We are hoping this position can become a permanent placement as the funding through ViiV is only for one year.