Pilot project offers virtual COVID-19 support in North Dundas and Merrickville

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A study being conducted by the Bruyère Research Institute is offering virtual pandemic support to the Merrickville-Wolford and North Dundas communities.

The Access to Resources in the Community (ARC) program is a patient-centred navigation model developed to help individuals access resources to address their health and social needs. The ARC project has been in progress since 2015 and after several years of research and demonstrating that the program is highly valued by participants, they are now studying how this navigation model can be rolled out in the context of the pandemic. In August 2020, they randomly selected the Merrickville-Wolford and North Dundas regions as the study focus areas.

The project is focused on addressing needs that may have come up as a result of stress and disruptions cause by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We address any need that the individual has because of the pandemic,” says ARC team member Carolynn Warnet. “There is a big mental health portion because there have been increased levels of anxiety and depression amongst the population.”

Once contact is made with the ARC team through a primary care provider, self-referral through their website, or by contacting the team by telephone or email, the individual is put in touch with an ARC Navigator who is skilled at identifying services in the community, including virtual services and government programs that address the person’s needs, and helping them overcome barriers to care. The ARC Navigator will assess the person’s needs through video chat and suggest supports like mental health services, social supports, financial support services, food security and personal safety.

The purpose of the study is to assess the feasibility and potential efficacy of the ARC program when it comes to helping people access services related to the pandemic. The pilot project will be running until April 2021. For more information or to get in contact with an ARC Navigator, visit the website at www.arcnavigatorproject.com or call Nicholas Kathen at (613) 227-6704.

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