Nicole de Gier, communications advisor
As an RCMP officer living and working in rural Nova Scotia, Deepak Prasad understands the need for different perspectives on the redeveloped QEII Health Sciences Centre.
He explains that wayfinding for the QEII doesn’t just start once patients and families arrive in the parking lot, but truly begins the moment many Nova Scotians or Maritimers exit their communities and pull on to a 100-series highway to travel to Halifax.
That health care wayfinding journey, which may last for several hours, causes stress levels to multiply for rural citizens who are used to a daily commute of five to seven minutes.
Ultimately, through his involvement with the QEII redevelopment project patient, family and public advisory committee, Prasad anticipates his advocacy to be mutually beneficial. Specifically, the QEII Redevelopment Project team will apply an appropriate urban/rural holistic lens to planning and rural Nova Scotians will understand that the QEII Health Sciences Centre is a word-class facility offering quality care that’s a drive away.
We asked Deepak some questions about his involvement in the QEII redevelopment project:
Q: Why did you choose to become involved in the redevelopment project?
A: Because of my field of work, we send many people to Halifax, specifically the QEII, for further medical treatment and their families follow in their own vehicles.
The QEII, although located in Halifax, is a big part of our community because of the continuity in medical treatment. Providing (this project with) the rural Nova Scotia lens was critical because so many people travel from outside of Halifax to use these services.
Q: Can you elaborate on your thoughts/feelings of needing to travel to the QEII for care?
A: Someone travelling from Antigonish has two hours of added stress to receiving health care. From Sydney, it’s five hours. In Antigonish, my daily commute is four minutes. For a family, they … travel the highway and … when you get past Truro you start to see the traffic build up, then you get to the Halifax bridges and ... need to find change to pay for the tolls and navigate from the tolls to the QEII and find parking; that’s all added layers of stress.
Q: What would you most like to accomplish as part of this committee?
A: My ultimate goal is to two-fold: to provide health care providers with meaningful professional development in world-class facilities that will attract more people to work here.
The second would be that when someone in Nova Scotia is in need they’re able to get the service in a straightforward way. A lot of people don’t understand the services the QEII offers.
When you think about it from a policing perspective, a lot of Nova Scotians meet the police when they get a speeding ticket. Most Nova Scotians don’t see all of the services the police offer. Most people only experience the health care system through their family doctors and may be in the hospital once in their lifetime.
Educating people about the services we have and specialized treatment the QEII offers to Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada is important. Wayfinding may not just start in Antigonish, it may start in Charlottetown, PEI.