The Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice has worked with the Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation, and the Advocacy Centre in Nelson, BC to develop two versions of a Poverty Intervention Tool – one for Kootenay Boundary and another for across BC. Ontario’s Poverty Intervention Tool was used as the template. Both the Kootenay Boundary and BC-wide tools are now available online.

Doctors in the Kootenay Boundary have long recognized and been actively working to find ways of supporting patients who struggle with socio-economic challenges. As part of this work, the Ontario tool, which helps primary care providers address the impacts of poverty on their patients, came to their attention.

Health impacts of poverty

The health impacts of poverty directly affect 15 per cent of B.C. residents, and evidence outlining the profound impact social determinants have on health is well documented, including:

  • Infant mortality: 60 per cent higher in lowest income sector neighbourhoods.
  • Cancer: Higher incidence for lung, oral and cervical for lower income population.
  • Cardiovascular disease: B.C. has a 17 per cent higher rate of circulatory conditions among the lowest income sector than the Canadian average.
  • Diabetes: Lowest income sector has more than double the rate of diabetes, compared to the highest income sector.
  • Mental illness: Depression is 58 per cent higher for people living below the poverty line, than the Canadian average.

The Poverty Intervention Tool guides doctors with a list of questions to help address the impact of poverty on their patients’ health and puts the resources they need to connect patients with the appropriate community supports and services at their fingertips.

If you would like access to either tool, click here to download.

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