Editorial: Team approach works wonders

News of the success rate of the regional Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team raised our eyebrows recently.

News of the success rate of the regional Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team raised our eyebrows recently.

The team, comprised of nurses, outreach and social workers, probation and police officers and a provincial social services staffer, works with an average client load of 65 people facing issues ranging from addictions to unstable mental health to homelessness.

That number may seem relatively small compared to the region’s homeless numbers, which reach well into the hundreds in any given month. But the effect of VICOT’s work with its clients has been unmistakable.

In the first year of being supported by the team, clients’ average stay in acute care hospital beds went from 121 days per year to 35. For the second year, that number dropped to 11. Overall the cost savings to the medical system are about $6 million a year.

That’s no small change. And that number doesn’t include the savings in police resources or insurance claims related to drug-related theft.

While realizing such cost savings lets us breathe easier as taxpayers, programs such as this one can also allow us to feel somewhat safer in our communities.

As such, the people who work with street-entrenched individuals must be applauded for their efforts to guide those clients into a healthier lifestyle.

But let’s not forget to give a pat on the back to those people who are doing the heavy lifting personally.

In accepting help from VICOT workers and others, clients are pulling themselves out of the cycle of addiction and addressing mental health issues, both of which, if left unchecked, can lead to crisis situations for themselves and others in our communities.

Remembering to eat a healthy diet, for example, may not seem like such a big deal on its own for most of us. But when buying food at all is sacrificed for buying drugs, it’s easy to see how one’s health can decline quickly.

The VICOT results are evidence that a team approach is a successful model for helping give a hand up to the most vulnerable in our communities.

Just Posted

Victoria property company plans to replace Saanich apartments with townhouses

Abstract Developments plans 26 townhouses for Gorge Road West

Camosun student starts bursary program for low-income students

The Jor-Dawn Smith Bursary will go to one Greater Victoria graduate in spring 2020

Curtain closes on Sidney’s Star Cinema location

The iconic theatre will move to a temporary location after its last showing Sunday

Semi truck impounded after driver avoids weight scales in Saanich

Driver issued 90-day roadside driving prohibition

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Most Read