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  • Norfolk Farms

Community clinics, on-farm visits and virtual consultations and access to year-round care for Agricultural Workers

Approximately 6,000 international agricultural workers in Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk that support local agricultural production can count on continued access to medical care this year

The Grand River Community Health Centre (GRCHC) and its partners, the Norfolk Family Health Team and the Haldimand Family Health Team, will be offering community clinics, on-farm visits and virtual consultations and access to year-round care for Agricultural Workers.

The majority of these workers are in Norfolk, with work arrangements varying from seasonal to year-round employment. Many of these workers speak Spanish. Clinics are offered to reach workers with weekly in-person clinics, day and evening hours, and on-farm clinics using the medical van and virtual care. Translation is available at all clinics.

The Norfolk in-person clinics are held at the Norfolk Family Health Team in Delhi and at the Superstore in Simcoe. The Haldimand in person clinics are held at the Haldimand Family Health team in Dunnville.

The GRCHC is adding a second, full-service medical van as part of the expanded services.

The team of health providers at each clinic includes medical doctors, nurse practitioners, health promoters, community health workers, medical secretaries and translators.

Medical work includes diagnosis, injury assessment and wound care, said Lynda Kohler, Executive Director of GRCHC. Team members assist patients, obtain follow-up diagnostics, including directions on medical laboratory testing.

Health Promoters can assist with developing personal skills, healthy eating, physical activity and injury, chronic disease prevention and establishing connections to services in the community.

Newly added this year is a Community Health Worker. It can be difficult to cope while away from family and loved ones. The Community Health Worker can provide coping strategies, supportive counselling and motivational interviewing to relieve symptoms and assist with remaining focused while on the job.

Top reasons for visits to the International Agricultural Worker (IAW) clinics include: muscular-skeletal issues, chronic disease management such as hypertension or diabetes, acute illnesses and sexual health concerns. The on-site translation for clients who have language barriers is done in a culturally-safe environment.

“It’s better for people to get care when they need it, rather than go to Emergency in the future,” said Kohler. “It’s better for the (farm) business and for the worker.”

An additional outreach planned for this summer is an IAW Health Fair hosted by the GRCHC and many partner agencies. It takes place at the Simcoe Legion on Friday, June 28th from 5 to 9 p.m., she added.

The GRCHC began the International Agricultural Workers Program in 2017. Workers and farmers have responded positively to this program. A client expressed his feelings: “Thank you for how you take enough time to understand the patient and look for whatever has caused their illness…I am really impressed as I haven’t seen it wherever I have gone before…keep this best practice.” 


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