What's new in New Westminster

Across our region, we are investing in community-based care by increasing health care resources in community settings. This means patients will receive the right level of care in the right places. This is about looking at the programs and services we provide and making decisions that are in the best interests of patients and residents, decisions that will help people avoid being in hospital, get them out of hospital more quickly and support them more fully in the community and in their homes. 

What we are talking about is a complex shift of resources but our goal is clear – to promote health, wellness and prevention in our communities. All of our decisions are based on what is best for the communities we serve and the people we care for. 

Here are some examples of how this is happening in New Westminster.  

Community Services in New Westminster

Home First

  • We have expanded Home First in New Westminster by adding five additional team members to the home health team to support clients at home, and created reporting dashboards so that community and acute care providers are better aware of patients ready for transition. 

Healthier Community Partnership


  • Initiated by the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice in March 2013 in partnership with Fraser Health, the Frail Elderly Nurse Practitioner program involves nurse practitioners – working collaboratively with physicians – providing routine and urgent care for frail elderly, homebound patients in their own homes in New Westminster and the Tri-Cities. An additional nurse practitioner will soon be added to the program. 
  • Launched in spring 2015 by the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice, the Sunshiners Network program aims to improve care for vulnerable or homebound seniors by providing them with access to a wide variety of in-home nurse visits. 

Sexual Health 

  • Opened in 2014, the HIM clinic -- Health Initiative for Men -- offers health promotion and clinical services to gay and bisexual men in New Westminster. 

Mental Health and Substance Use

  • A partnership with the New West Police Department provides for a dedicated mental health liaison police officer and designated mental health professionals to respond more effectively to individuals in mental health and substance use crisis situations.

Royal Columbian Hospital Updates

  • In 2014/15, we have invested $11.829 million in capital equipment at Royal Columbian Hospital, including a CT scanner, drug distribution system, ultrasound equipment and infusion pumps. We invested $115,000 at Queens Park Care Centre. 
  • We are adding weekend Occupational Therapy services at the hospital to assist with care and discharge planning on weekends.
  • In spring 2017, we received business plan approval for phases two and three of the hospital redevelopment project, including a new acute care tower, a larger emergency department and upgrades to existing spaces. Read more about the redevelopment project. 

Regional Updates

Across Fraser Health, we are investing in:

Home Health

  • This program provides clients who need help to manage their health and to live safely in their homes with case management services, nursing support, older adult day programs, respite service for caregivers, and more. We have added staff to improve access to home support – bathing and medication management, for example – and other home health services – wound care and short term-physiotherapy – by clients who are either recovering at home following a hospital stay or seniors who need help to remain independent at home.

Home First

  • Home First is expanding in Abbotsford with the addition of key team members to improve access to home support and other Home Health services. Home First is a program for seniors in hospital who have been assessed at the residential care level who have the potential to go home instead. They are fast-tracked to return home with the home health supports they need as well as other community supports, medical and non-medical. Nearly 1,000 patients returned home and avoided residential care placement in the first three years of Home First (2012 to 2015).


  • This community program offers clients with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) home-based education to help them manage their disease and prevent flare-ups which could otherwise send them to the emergency room or result in hospitalization. A respiratory therapist works with the client and their doctor to develop a health improvement plan, and connects the client with community services such as lung rehabilitation, home supports, rehabilitation therapy and exercise programs. As of March 2016, 1,430 people are accessing the service across the region. The program is now expanding to Fraser Health residential facilities.

Residential Care

  • We provide subsidized residential care for adults who can no longer live safely or independently at home due to complex health care needs. In 2016 we will add 403 new residential care beds and we will bring 228 of our existing residential care beds up to current care standards. Across the region, with new investments this year we have a total of 8,254 residential care beds available in Fraser Health, an increase of 7.9% since 2010. New investments in residential care in 2016/17 include an increase of 216 beds in Fraser North, which will benefit New Westminster residents who need this level of support. 

Outpatient Rehabilitation 

  • We are improving outpatient rehabilitation access beginning in spring 2016. In New Westminster this means developing patient-centered clinical tools and processes that to improve access and coordination of services, to enhance outcomes. 

Mental Health and Substance Use 

  • Across the region, 226 new and redeveloped beds will become available for clients with mental health and substance use challenges in 2016/17. Of these, 96 are residential care beds (a mix of licensed residential care and assisted living); 33 are Supported Independent Living subsidies; and 97 contracted beds will provide services and supports to individuals with substance use challenges.
  • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams provide support for hard-to-reach adults with serious and persistent mental illness who have not connected with, or responded well to traditional mental health care. The ACT teams are comprised of various mental health and substance use who deliver 75 per cent of services in settings such as a person’s home, shelters, drop-in centres, or parks. Currently, we have four ACT teams supporting almost 300 clients across six communities across our region. A total of 75 clients are served in New Westminster/Tri-Cities.
  • The Rapid Access Clinic provides timely access to a one-time consultation with a psychiatrist and nurse from local mental health centres in order to provide a general practitioner or nurse practitioner with treatment recommendations. 
  • Integrated Transition of Care teams between Royal Columbian Hospital Psychiatry Program and Tri-Cities and New Westminster Mental Health Centres provide enhanced support, 7 days a week, for individuals who have been discharged from hospital into the care of their community mental health and substance use centre. 
  • The START Team (1-844-START11) provides an assessment and intervention program for 6-18 year olds experiencing a mental health crisis in Fraser Health. 
  • A state-of-the-art Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit (CAPSU) for children and adolescents with urgent mental health issues is set to open this spring at Surrey Memorial Hospital. CAPSU will serve young people from across the region, aged six to 17, who need a five- to seven-day stay in hospital for stabilization. CAPSU will be home to a Snoezelen™ Room, a multi-sensory environment used to help reduce agitation and anxiety and stimulate and encourage communication, the first of its kind for children and youth in a hospital psychiatric unit in Canada.  

Recent kudos for our health care providers

  • I received treatment at New Westminster Mental Health and did not understand how their assistance they provided would make me feel better. After nine months of working with them, from trauma counselling to relaxation methods, I have been able to close my file and feel very good about where I am now. When I was meeting for my sessions, I was only seeing small steps and now I can see that I have made huge improvements. They really supported me through many sessions with handouts that did not seem like it was helping much, until months later when I realized how much I had improved. I really felt like someone cared and validated what happened to me. Thanks Lexis and Dr. Chan for your caring help. (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)
  • To all the wonderful staff at the Royal Columbian Hospital, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. ... My mom has had many experiences in the past decade at this hospital, first with breast and lymph node cancer and with what she is facing now. She has never had anything but the most positive comments about her treatments, this establishment, and its caregivers, and having seen the administrative side of it now too, I can say that everyone who works here is top-notch at what they do. I hope this is an encouragement for you all to continue what you are doing. You're not only making a difference to every patient who walks in your doors, but to each and every family member and friend as well. My mother is an amazing woman and deserves the best. It's comforting to know that that's exactly what she has. (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)
  • I would like to mention a lady who is beyond amazing and is obviously in the right position. She is wonderful and very caring also. Her name is Chrystal who works at the New Westminster mental health office. I was referred there by my doctor, and am so thankful for her service/support. Thank you again for being you - keep up the great job - you are definitely in the right profession. (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)
  • I would like to compliment Dr. Karim, head cardiac surgeon at Royal Columbian Hospital. My 44-year-old boyfriend needed two valves replaced by open heart surgery. Dr. Karim was his very capable surgeon. I felt as though Dr Karim was very comfortable with his job and actually seems to enjoy it. I found he was caring and extremely diligent. My gratitude and thanks goes to him for the best care given to the love of my life. Amazing work, thank you. (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)
  • Please pass on our gratitude to Helen in the Echocardiogram Department. My husband had an appointment this morning for an echocardiogram and because my husband had a pacemaker recently implanted, I assumed that he would not be able to have the echocardiogram. Wrong assumption.  Helen called about 10 o’clock and said that he indeed could have the test. She pointed out that the waiting list is 6 months long but, there was a spot for 1:45 today and asked if we would like to come. We accepted and came in for 1:45. When we got there, Helen greeted us warmly and used humour to diffuse what could have been a very awkward situation. Instead, Helen was most gracious and helpful during the procedure and we would appreciate if you pass on our thanks to her. (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)

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