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

Comic Con swings into town, June 9

Variety of cosplay prizes to be won from $100 – $450

Mayfair visitors can check out “Heartmelt Motel”

Cross-country pop-up exhibit stops in Victoria from May 29 to June 9

Double lung transplant gives West Shore man second chance

Co-owner of West Shore Barber Shop grateful for every minute of the 16 years transplant has provided

Hallmark movie filming in Oak Bay

Shooting for ‘Sunshine’ continues into June across Greater Victoria

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read