CENTRE WELLINGTON – Officials say the new Trailside Medical Centre offers a “one-stop shop” for healthcare in the community, in addition to a collaborative approach to patient care for medical professionals.
The centre, which opened its doors to the public in January, is a state-of-the-art facility housing over 20 local doctors and other healthcare professionals, as well as Pharmasave Trailside Pharmacy, Grand River Physiotherapy, Trailside Eye Care and Align Pedorthics.
The Upper Grand Family Health Team also opened its doors at the beginning of March and Life Labs is the newest addition to the building, as of April 26.
The centre is located behind the new Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Aboyne and is accessible from Beatty Line.
Hilary Blackett, interim executive director at the Upper Grand Family Health Team, noted that the location creates an added convenience for clients and a reassurance that their services providers work closely together.
“Having such a big space for the Family Health Team and having our whole team here co-located with the physicians is really great for our patients,” Blackett said.
“For the public I think it’s nice knowing that the same physicians that work in this building and throughout our community are the same physicians that staff our hospitals.”
She added the Centre offers patients the ability to connect with different team members in addition to enabling the providers to work together to develop care plans for patients. It also allows for greater awareness of the Family Health Team and their services.
“It’s a great way for people to easily access our services and really understand that the Family Health Team is here to serve them and meet the needs of the community,” said Blackett.
According to Dr. Eric Oh of Vista Medical Group, the new building centralizes healthcare services for the community.
“From a work flow perspective, it made sense for us to be close to the hospital,” Oh explained.
“That was the driver of this, trying to be close to the new building.”
Trailside Medical Centre’s proximity to the hospital allows its doctors to run over and see an admitted patient, rather than having to drive back and forth.
In addition, Oh noted that having the businesses in the same location allows for the exchange of information to happen in a less formalized setting, “Which I think is very beneficial for [the patient] and all of us.”
Pharmasave Elora Apothecary owners and pharmacists Bronwyn and Andrew Tolmie opened their second location in the centre: Pharmasave Trailside Pharmacy.
The trailside location has allowed them to expand services, including custom compounding, medical supplies, mobility aids and home health care.
The Tolmies said the purpose of the new facility was to have a number of allied health practitioners under one roof.
“We were approached to be the pharmacy in the building and for Bronwyn and I, it was a no brainer to be able to co-exist in the same facility as a number of the physicians that we work with every day,” said Andrew Tolmie. “It made perfect sense.”
According to Tolmie, the centre provides a setting for all of the services that one might need when visiting their family doctor, whether it be a prescription, an optometrist consultation or blood work.
“Ultimately, to be able to access all those services without even having to walk out the door is a huge convenience for the patient and helps with a collaborative approach to providing patient care,” said Tolmie.
In addition to the number of services offered, the building is also boasts the space needed to provide appropriate distancing in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Pharmasave Trailside Pharmacy has also assisted in the local vaccine rollout since early April.
“It’s not a new rule for pharmacists and pharmacies… but definitely more complex and logistically very challenging because the supply chain is quite unpredictable,” Tolmie explained.
“But despite all the work it’s probably been one of the most rewarding things that [we,] and our team, have been involved with as pharmacists and as healthcare providers.”
Trailside Eye Care optometrist Marian Elder says the proximity of the centre breaks down longer wait times and strain on the healthcare system at the hospital.
“I think just being able to use both resources in an efficient way is handy and it’s so close that people can pop over if they need to go from [Trailside] over to the hospital in an emergency situation,” Elder said.
“It’s efficient in that way but also vice versa,” she explained. “If we can keep people out of the hospitals and triage them through here with the doctors in this building, I think that’s great too.”
Mark Stonehouse, owner of Grand River Physiotherapy, said he likes that the new building facilitates a continuity of care and higher level of communication amongst healthcare providers.
“The goal is to provide a facility where associated healthcare providers can get together and provide our services under the same roof,” Stonehouse explained.
“It’s a one-stop shop for healthcare.”
The new building provided Stonehouse with a chance to expand and “look after the needs of the community even more effectively than we were before.”
According to Elder, another notable trait of the building is the local aspect. Many of the doctors and practitioners live in the community or in surrounding areas.
“It’s very familiar. I know so many of my patients that are coming in and really getting to know them and know what their needs are and how we can help them,” Elder explained.
“It’s just that much more personal; there’s real connection to community here.”
Elder noted that for her, the new building is about moving the community forward and providing “a much more personal way to enhance patient care overall.”
Oh and Stonehouse agreed the collaborative approach the building promotes is the future of healthcare.
“I think COVID is showing us that our healthcare system tends to operate in silos and I think the best thing to happen is when you start breaking down and having these informal interactions is really helpful and we lose that, I think, in our current environment,” said Oh.
Elder concluded, “we all want this building to feel like an accessible place for people to come, not necessarily just a place you have to come for an appointment.”
Parking is free to visitors who utilize physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry and/or pedorthics services. Those visiting a doctor will have to pay $3 for parking.