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Better healthcare for Tahltan coming

Apr. 28/13

Telegraph Creek nurse Nancy Norby-Quock is thrilled about returning to her community, amidst major changes that will dramatically improve health care in Telegraph Creek, Iskut and Dease Lake.

“I like to work hard, and meet the needs of First Nations. I just felt that I should [return home] to do this for my own people,” she said.

The Tahltan native, daughter of Thelma and Vern Norby, left the community a year ago to seek professional renewal, and gain new training like in advanced cardiac life support.

She’s returned to Telegraph Creek in April to help bring improved health care services across Tahltan Nation.

“My ancestors are from there. I love the people, I truly love the people,” said Norby-Quock.

The Socio-Cultural Working Group – an initiative led by Tahltan and Iskut bands and the Tahltan Central Council — is driving the healthcare changes.

Telegraph’s nursing station, for example, will soon be co-managed with Iskut Valley Health – one of the only First Nations band health authorities in the country that is “fully transferred” from Health Canada.

“It used to be managed from afar. Now it will be managed closer to home,” said Norby-Quock.

She says the co-management of the nursing station means band members will soon see more Tahltan staff caring for them, and better home care for the sick and elderly.

“They’ll get familiar nurses. We’re going to be doing the hiring. So we’re not going to have a different nurse every week.”

Emergencies will also receive faster responses without the restraint of past policies that prevented nursing staff from leaving the clinic.

Such situations were brought into focus this past winter after the tragic passing of an Elder. Community members made it clear they want new approaches. Norby-Quock says, they’ll get it.

“If there’s an accident on the road, or if someone is not able to come into the clinic. We will be able to go to them now. There won’t be any policy that says we can’t.”

Band members in all three communities will also have access to a new medical transport bus for catching a ride to doctor appointments in Terrace or Prince George.

“Not everybody has a vehicle. Especially for Elders. It’s a long drive.”

“So having this bus, people will always have a ride,” said Norby-Quock.

NT4