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How Healthy Is Your Pet?

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Humans have always kept pets, be it for companionship or out of necessity.

In fact, in times long gone when central heating and other modern heating contraptions were not even on the horizon, people scooted closer to their animals during the long winter months. People kept cattle, sheep, goats, and even pigs close in the wintertime to stay warm.

Nowadays, the focus is shifted somewhat, especially in cities where people mostly keep animals as pets. A man once observed rather philosophically, “Nobody has ever peed themselves out of the pure joy of seeing me but my dog.” Truthfully, it is a tall order trying to beat the kind of devotion and besottedness a pet can bestow upon its owner.

Yet, despite all that, there are still some 200 million stray dogs roaming around. There are about 14,000 organizations in the US alone that take part in rescuing and sheltering animals. The main reason why animals end up on the streets is pet abandonment or being born on the streets in the first place. However, there are also some 4 million cats and dogs that get adopted from shelters each year and an additional 710,000 animals that end up in shelters as strays but are eventually reunited with their owners.

There is no doubt that there are amazingly caring and devoted owners out there, but what does that mean exactly?

What Does Your Pet Need (Besides Cuddles and Treats)?

While cuddling and playing with your pet is the most enjoyable part of the relationship, being a good owner takes more than engaging in the fun part of the story.

There are some 19 million pets in the US living in underserved communities, and 88% of them have not been spayed or neutered, while 69% have never been to a vet.

There are approximately 7.9 million cats and 5.9 million dogs in Canada. According to Canada’s Pet Wellness Report, many owners fail to recognize the importance of taking their pets to a regular vet checkup. That has nothing to do with how owners feel about their pets. It is merely about educating themselves when it comes to practices that are in their pets’ best interests.

The report further states that while Canadians undoubtedly love their pets, overfeeding is the biggest issue. Every vet will tell you that keeping your pet’s weight under control is one of the best ways to not just prolong its life, but also keep it healthy. Yet, as it is the case with humans in general, we seem to give our pets what they like the most, but not necessarily what is best for them. Additionally, Canadian vets say that the price of food is also a deciding factor for many owners.

Another often neglected aspect of pet health is dental hygiene. Dental disease is one of the most frequently diagnosed health issues in cats and dogs. Sadly, only 16% of pet owners in Canada seem interested in learning more about the dental care of their pets.

Last but not least, most owners knew how important it is to play with their pets and take them for walks regularly. Data show that pet owners are healthier because of their pets as well. Still, it seems that Canadians spend less than half an hour per day doing activities with their pets. They spend far more time either surfing the internet or watching TV.

Conclusion

Simply providing food and a warm bed to sleep in is not enough to have a happy and healthy pet. While it can be expensive to pick the top quality food and take your pet to the vet often, there are ways to make sure your pet is getting most of the things it needs to live a long life. Talk to your vet, use that internet time to look up some valuable information about healthy habits for your pet, and make the necessary changes. After all, nothing beats that goofy grin on your pooch’s face when it sees you at the door after a long day.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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TELUS Health expands digital home health monitoring to virtually support B.C. patients with or at risk of COVID-19

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Home Health Monitoring technology enables health providers to virtually observe British Columbians who are at home while reducing exposure to the virus

Vancouver – Today, TELUS Health announced the expansion of its Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution so that nurses and other healthcare providers in British Columbia can digitally monitor more patients remotely while they recover from COVID-19 Launched in partnership with the B.C.

Ministry of Health and local health authorities, this digital health dashboard enables healthcare providers to track the symptoms and provide medical help for more patients as they recover outside of hospitals in the comfort of their own homes.

“As we face the immense challenge of COVID-19, TELUS Health is committed to working alongside BC’s healthcare leaders to expand the use of technology solutions like Home Health Monitoring to support more British Columbians while recovering at home,” said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO, TELUS.

“By enabling clinicians to remotely observe the vitals of patients with COVID-19, as well as those who are vulnerable to the virus, and provide necessary interventions early, we can reduce exposure and also help to alleviate the pressure in hospital emergency rooms and clinics.”

Easily accessible through a mobile device, the program sends daily prompts to the patient to report their biometrics such as temperature, physical symptoms and overall health condition. This provides crucial information on the status of a patient’s health to their clinicians who are regularly and remotely monitoring their well-being through a digital dashboard.

HHM allows healthcare providers to view information for multiple patients simultaneously, enabling them to more effectively manage the vitals of a larger number of patients so they can quickly identify those patients in need of urgent care. Depending on the escalation of their symptoms, some patients may be advised to contact their doctor, or visit their nearest hospital emergency room, while others with improving symptoms may be told to continue recovering and isolating at home.

“Home monitoring is a significant part of our response to the ongoing pandemic. We are grateful for the technology and partnership with TELUS Health enabling our efforts,” said Lisa Saffarek, Clinical Director Virtual Care and Home Health Monitoring lead at Island Health. “With the Home Health Monitoring solution, we are able to stay connected with our patients, provide symptom support and ensure our patients who are quarantined or isolated at home are provided with safe and effective care. The monitoring solution has also improved clinical capacity for our Public Health team, the front line of our pandemic response.”

Home Health Monitoring by TELUS Health has been in use in B.C, since 2013 to remotely monitor thousands of patients in the province living with chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes and respiratory diseases. The TELUS Home Health Monitoring system is aligned with the Canadian Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 protocols for the monitoring of patients recovering from COVID-19 outside of hospitals.

“The B.C. Ministry of Health has partnered with TELUS since 2013 to implement and evolve a provincial remote patient monitoring service for patients with chronic conditions,” said Corrie Barclay, Assistant Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Management and Information Technology with the B.C. Ministry of Health.

“Our investment has enabled us to act quickly to monitor our patients in isolation while also providing them with peace of mind, knowing that they are being monitored daily by their healthcare teams. As well, our clinicians are given the assurance that we are keeping track of our vulnerable citizens.”

As healthcare professionals risk their lives every day, TELUS Health is working hard to provide the technology solutions needed to keep them safe. Building off of this successful initiative in B.C., discussions with other provincial health ministries are underway to provide HHM technology to even more Canadians during these unprecedented times.

About TELUS Health and Payment Solutions

TELUS Health is a leader in digital health technology solutions such as home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, virtual care, benefits and pharmacy management as well as personal emergency response services. TELUS Health is leveraging the power of technology to improve access to care and revolutionize the flow of health information to create better outcomes for Canadians while facilitating collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare professionals, insurers, employers and citizens.

TELUS Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended health care providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.

For more information please visit:
www.telushealth.com and www.telus.com/payment-solutions.

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City of Surrey online videos boost mental and physical health for all ages

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The popular at-home classes and activities have been viewed over 15,000 times

While recreation centres and libraries across Surrey are closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, city staff have found a way to connect with residents online to ensure physical and mental health exercises are available for families at home during the pandemic.

“We have called on our residents to physically distance to limit the spread of COVID-19, and I want to personally recognize our community for rising to this challenge,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “While we all follow the measures put in place, it is important that we continue to connect with each other. The videos we have launched ensure Surrey families have access to physical and mental exercises at home, and I’m pleased they have been so well received over the past 4 weeks.”

Led by certified instructors, the free fitness classes offer a range of exercises that do not require professional equipment, including yoga and body sculpt. For seniors, light stretching and low impact classes are available.

Surrey Libraries is offering virtual story times and singalongs for children to enjoy from home, featuring familiar librarians across the City. The popular Treehouse Storytime at Redwood Forrest is also available online, so families can connect with nature and enjoy craft making, puppets and songs. Parks staff take children on an educational walk through the forest, offering virtual ways to connect with nature from home.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to take care of our physical and mental well-being,” added Mayor McCallum. “In the coming weeks we will continue to add more videos for residents, and I invite you to check back often to make full use of the recreational, cultural and library services available.”

City of Surrey online classes can be found here.

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Emergency Response Centre opens at North Surrey Recreation Centre to support those experiencing homelessness

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To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, BC Housing, City of Surrey and Fraser Health have established a temporary Emergency Response Centre at Surrey’s previously decommissioned North Surrey Recreation Centre (NSRC).

The NSRC Emergency Response Centre will provide up to 110 safe spaces in the recreation centre, separated amongst the facility’s two rinks. The Centre will be referral-only which will prioritize the support of people living on the streets, in shelters, or for people coming out of acute care who do not have a safe place to self-isolate if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

“By utilizing the decommissioned North Surrey Recreation Centre, we are providing our most vulnerable population with the most essential protective measure against COVID-19, which is the ability to physical distance,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “We will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus within our community, and today’s establishment of the NSRC Emergency Response Centre is a crucial shift in our efforts. We thank BC Housing and Fraser Health for their collaboration and contributions in making this vital project possible.”

“It’s important for people who are street-entrenched or living in shelters to have a safe place to self-isolate and to physically distance. Combatting COVID-19 requires each person and community to work together and we’re proud to partner with BC Housing and the City of Surrey to ensure this vulnerable population has access to the support and care they need,” said Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee

Referrals will be managed by Fraser Health to ensure those most at risk with the highest care needs are prioritized. This proactive approach will also help reduce capacity in nearby shelters in order to support physical distancing efforts.

BC Housing has appointed Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) to operate and manage the centre, which will be staffed 24/7. Fraser Health staff will be onsite daily, supporting SUMS and providing ongoing health guidance.

BC Housing, with the support of City of Surrey, is continuing to explore opportunities to partner with local hotels to support frontline staff who are unable to go home during the COVID-19 outbreak, or for those who are unable to self-isolate due to living on the streets or in shelters.

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TELUS Health enables 26,000 Canadian family doctors to conduct virtual visits with their patients to reduce exposure risk

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Canada’s leading health IT company adds patient videoconferencing to its electronic medical records in British Columbia

Vancouver- Today, TELUS Health announced it is enabling 26,000 Canadian family doctors to conduct virtual visits with their patients by seamlessly integrating this functionality into its electronic medical records (EMRs) offering. TELUS Health has accelerated the development of this virtual video functionality in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, now that physicians in British Columbia and across the country can use virtual care fee codes.

Offered as a free service for the first four months, this new feature allows physicians to virtually support their own roster of patients while maintaining continuity of care and fully up-to-date health records.

“Continuity of care is so important, especially during this health crisis,” says Dr. Baldev Sanghera, B.C. Family physician. “With this new technology, I have a secure way to see my patients virtually and make sure they’re getting the best care possible, all while keeping both of us safe in our own homes.”

The new virtual care feature empowers physicians to book appointments, conduct video consultations and update patient records all within their EMR. Available from desktop, smartphone or tablet, the fully integrated virtual visit feature is mobile and eliminates the need to switch between multiple digital tools for seamless workflow, easing the burden on physicians and allowing them to focus more of their time on patient care.

The intuitive video call interface can then be placed side-by-side with the physician’s other EMR features, allowing them to take notes and review patient records at the same time. Meanwhile, patients can open the appointment link from their web browser, whether on their desktop computer or mobile device, and have the video appointment with their primary care physician. The feature offers both full audio and video capabilities, as well as a chat function through which written messages can be exchanged.

“In the face of this pandemic, we are working extremely hard to give Canadian clinicians the right digital tools to effectively help their patients and support their continuity of care,” says Dr. Diane McIntosh, Chief Neuroscience Officer, TELUS Health.

“We’ve made it a priority to make EMR-integrated virtual care available much sooner, allowing our physicians to securely connect with their patients and conduct virtual consultations via video on the same platform they already use to update digital records and information.”

About TELUS Health and Payment Solutions

TELUS Health is a leader in digital health technology solutions such as home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, virtual care, benefits and pharmacy management as well as personal emergency response services.

TELUS Health is leveraging the power of technology to improve access to care and revolutionize the flow of health information to create better outcomes for Canadians while facilitating collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare professionals, insurers, employers and citizens.

TELUS Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended health care providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.

For more information please visit: www.telushealth.com | www.telus.com/payment-solutions.

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3D printing to support frontline workers during Covid-19

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Justin Ruscheinski is 3D printing to help those who work in healthcare and on the frontlines during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many nurses have said that since they are working long overtime shifts during the pandemic, their ears have turned raw and painful from having the elastic strings of their face masks looped around their ears all day and night.

To solve this problem, Justin is using his 3D printer at home to make ear savers for surgical face masks that can wrap around and act as a banded support behind the head, to alleviate pain to the ears by not needing to have the elastic strings looped around the ears, as how it’s normally worn. The newly added ear saver, which is made of plastic, is attached to the face mask by locking the strings of the mask onto the clip.

When asked what motivated him to take on this project, Justin said “I’m just a happy guy with a 3D printer looking to support the frontline workers in any way I can. I want to support them on all the amazing things they’re doing.”

So far, he has made over 200 ear savers and receives requests daily for them. He has been donating them to nurses in Surrey and other cities in the lower mainland. And has set up an email (justin@3dprintingwithjustin.com) for healthcare workers to send in requests on how many they need. Ear savers can either be delivered or picked up.

Currently, Justin has one 3D printer and it takes a couple of hours to a few days to make a bunch of ear savers. And he might start printing a few different models for testing. To be able to make more ear savers, he has ordered another 3D printer which is expected to be delivered by April 11th, and that will allow him to push out 20 pieces every 11 hours if he runs at full force. In addition to that, he wishes to order more printers to help healthcare workers.

To help offset costs of 3D printers, material, and production, he has set up a GoFundMe page for those who would like to support his initiative and would like to gladly thank those who do. (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-to-support-our-front-line-workers)

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