Neepawa resident will soon have a "Nurse Next Door"


By Kate Jackman-Atkinson

The Neepawa Banner

Working as a director of care for a personal care home, Ann Chan used to get calls from people looking for help for their family members. The common story involved an elderly parent living in another community who needed a nurse or care giver’s help, or faced social isolation. “I could feel their frustration,” she said.  As a charge nurse in a transitional unit in Winnipeg, Chan saw a similar story; patients who needed more support and weren’t really ready to go home. While there was government supported services, such as home care, patients and their families found that it didn’t meet all of the patients’ needs. Chan would try and find help for these patients, something she now does on a full time basis.

In January, Chan and partner Rollen Guzman, a registered Trauma Care nurse, launched Nurse Next Door in Brandon, with Chan acting as the general manager. It’s rewarding work and she said, “When the opportunity came, I really grabbed it.” She explains that the company’s culture is aligned to what her and Guzman believe, “We want to make life better and make a difference in the community.” 

Chan explains that the process begins with the care consultation, which is conducted by one of three nurses.  Working with the family, they talk to clients about their needs and determine what level of care is required. “Our goal is to help a person stay at home as long as possible,” said  Chan. She explains that they will partner with the hospital to provide post hospital care as well as promoting health and wellness to try and prevent a patient from having to return to the hospital.

Nurse Next Door offers three levels of care, depending on the patient’s needs.  The lowest level of care focuses on companionship, meal preparation and light housekeeping.  The second level aims to help people stay comfortable and safe in their homes and offers services such as medication management and help with personal care. The final level of care meets complex nursing needs, including daily, live-in nursing and end of life care. Chan explains that they meet with the client and “find the perfect match” among their trained caregivers. While most of the care is conducted in a patient’s home, companionship services are available to patients in hospitals or personal care homes. This might include taking the patient out for a visit or excursion. Chan added that they want to help ageing become a happier process by meeting the psycho-social aspects of care. 

Nurse Next Door has been operating in Brandon since January and they are now expanding to serve the Neepawa area.  Chan is familiar with the area, having worked in Dauphin and Gladstone, and said that they see potential in the community.  They already have one client signed up and 10 care givers from the area have been hired to work with the company. They currently don’t have an office established in Neepawa, but it’s part of their plan. While most of their hires are already experienced, they also run a training program to help new hires. With an aging population and a shortage of doctors in the region, “we’re filling a gap,” said Chan. 

Private home care, like the services offered by Nurse Next Door aren’t covered by provincial health insurance, but Chan explains that some private insurance policies do cover the service. “We want to have an impact on lives and the community too,” said Chan.