Cowichan District Hospital. (Citizen file)

New program helps pregnant women and new mothers using drugs in Cowichan

The Healthy Care Pregnancy Program pairs a registered social worker or nurse with a pregnant woman

Pregnant women and new mothers who use substances can now benefit from added support through Cowichan District Hospital and Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship) Society, and nine others across B.C. through a new provincial pilot program.

The Healthy Care Pregnancy Program pairs a registered social worker or nurse with a pregnant woman or new mother to help them navigate through primary care, community care, and acute hospital settings while accessing treatment and recovery services. The program is crucial for women experiencing complex medical, health, and social risks as it connects them with housing services, child welfare, and family services, a press release announcing the program said.

“Pregnancy and motherhood already come with a tremendous set of challenges. And when you add substance use and a toxic drug supply on our streets it has never been more important to have supports in place, especially for new mothers and their babies,” says Judy Darcy, minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This program ensures that when pregnant women and new moms need help the services are there to support them and provide the opportunity for them to thrive at this crucial time in their lives.”

“Pregnant women and new mothers at risk can have someone to lean on during a very special, yet challenging time,” says Susan Wannamaker, Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) executive vice president, Clinical Service Delivery. “The 10 health-care workers in the Healthy Care Pregnancy Program have already begun connecting women with the care and services they need to help improve their lives as well as their communities.”

The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions provided $990,000 to fund the Healthy Care Pregnancy Program, which is a partnership between the BC Association of Pregnancy Outreach Programs and the Provincial Perinatal Substance Use Project at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. Ten Healthy Care Pregnancy Program workers have now been hired (one for each hospital site). The first health-care worker was hired in February and recruitment for the last site was just completed in early September.

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