Expansion grows clinic capacity in Halifax

photo of the clinic, hallway, and reception areas

After more than a year of planning and renovating, a greater number of home care clients in the Halifax area can be seen in a clinic setting following an expansion of VON’s home care clinic on Bayers Road. 

The newly expanded clinic, which opened its doors in mid-April, took over the neighbouring space once occupied by a physician’s office in the two-storey commercial building. The owner of the building worked with VON to determine the extent and cost of the work required. Most of the almost $100,000 of government funding was spent on the renovation.

The clinic has gone from five treatment spaces with no private treatment rooms to two private treatment rooms and eight curtained-off treatment spaces. The reception area was also upgraded to add more space, a closed administration area and a second exit. Fifteen thousand dollars was also spent on new equipment, including new treatment beds and chairs. 

Chantal Davie, Senior Manager, Greater Halifax VON, says the expansion was necessary due to the increasing demand for care in the Halifax area, combined with a shortage of nursing staff. Davie explains that a clinic nurse can see more than two times as many clients in the time required for a single home visit. In fact, data from the Central Zone in Nova Scotia from 2022 shows a clinic-first approach led to an efficiency gain of 115%.

What is a “clinic-first approach”?

A clinic-first approach prioritizes treatment at a community clinic rather than in a client’s home. It may seem more convenient for a client to receive care in their own home, but visiting a local home care clinic has many advantages for clients and providers. 

“With a home visit, a client receives a time range, whereas at a clinic, their appointment is scheduled for a specific time, and they rarely have to wait more than a few minutes,” says Davie. “Even if they’re initially skeptical, a lot of clients realize how convenient it is. They’ll combine their clinic visit with other errands like grocery shopping.”

When asked if the expansion would make it easier to recruit nurses, Davie explains that while many nurses do prefer to work in a clinic environment, some will always prefer visiting clients in their homes.

VON has also been operating a temporary three-bed clinic inside the Dartmouth General Hospital since last October. Feedback from hospital staff has been very positive, and Davie can see the clinic remaining operational on a more permanent basis.