A new level of support for new parents in the rural reaches of Vancouver Island was announced June 1 as the Vancouver Island Health Authority launched its Infant Feeding and New Parent Support Line, available every weekend.
The support line, part of VIHA’s Right From the Start Public Health Perinatal Program, is available every weekend and is specifically designed to assist residents outside population centres who may not have ready access to a clinic during those hours.
As of June 1, new parents living anywhere on Vancouver Island are able to call the toll-free line on weekends at 1-855-339-6825 and be connected with a public health nurse. Nurses work 8:30 am to 4:30 pm over the weekend, and after-hours voice messages will be returned within 24 hours.
The goal of this new service is to improve access to support, assessment and resources for new parents – particularly women living in rural and remote areas or where weekend public health nursing service is unavailable.
The program differs from the 8-1-1 support line, which connects callers to a public health nurse for general medical information, advice or support. The Infant Feeding and New Parent Support Line connects callers to nurses specifically trained to deal with perinatal and infant feeding questions and issues.
Following the birth of their child, families will be provided with the support line number and information about weekly public health nursing services when they are discharged from the hospital or from their Registered Midwife.
More information about public health services can be found at viha.ca/children or by calling your local health unit.