Ayer’s Cliff Health Clinic Cel­e­brates First An­niver­sary

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Ayer's Cliff

Ona blus­tery day in March, Remi Fer­land, owner of the big lum­ber yard in Ayer’s Cliff had an ar­gu­ment with a saw – “the first time in 40 years that I didn’t win,” he said sheep­ishly, show­ing me the an­gry scar on his hand “which has healed beau­ti­fully,” he con­tin­ued. But that day when he walked into the Cen­tre de santé, his arm swathed in bloody tow­els, “I was very thank­ful for the Clinic. If it hadn’t been there, I would have had to rush to Ma­gog Hospi­tal maybe half-hour away, wait for a few hours, and

be in con­tact with lots of peo­ple in the Emer­gency Room who are sick. This way, I walked over with my wife, the nurse saw me right away, cleaned up my hand and Dre. Martin stitched me up. They sure know what they’re do­ing.”

For the staff of Cen­tre de santé de la val­lée Mas­saw­ippi, it was “just an­other day of do­ing our jobs”, says Janet Manuel, em­ployed at the clinic since its open­ing day in April 2015. “We are for­tu­nate to have the ser­vices of 2 fam­ily prac­ti­tion­ers on two days a week – of course, it would be even bet­ter if we had a doc­tor 5 days a week.”

Richard Dezan, a res­i­dent of Ayer’s Cliff, comes reg­u­larly for blood tests. “I have a few health is­sues and am fol­lowed by a cou­ple of doc­tors at the CHUS,” he says. I pre­fer com­ing to the Clinic than go­ing to Ma­gog be­cause my re­sults get to the doc­tor faster. Be­sides that, there’s free park­ing in­stead of hav­ing to pay $6 or $10 at the park­ing lot.”

An­other mem­ber of the co-op, a res­i­dent of Hat­ley Vil­lage, can­not stop singing the praises of the staff at the Cen­tre de santé. “I was in South Carolina over the win­ter, and thought I was hav­ing a heart at­tack”, says Diane Ferrabee. “At the hospi­tal, they did dozens of tests and in the end, the doc­tors there could find noth­ing wrong with me. The pain in my chest grad­u­ally sub­sided, but I de­cided to come home any­way. Three weeks later, the very morn­ing I had an ap­point­ment to see a doc­tor in Sher­brooke in the af­ter­noon, I got the same sear­ing pain in my chest. I went di­rectly to the clinic. There was no doc­tor that day, but Janet, the nurse saw me right away. She im­me­di­ately or­dered an am­bu­lance to take me to the hospi­tal, and within an hour, the Ma­gog doc­tors con­firmed their di­ag­no­sis. I was op­er­ated on the next day to have my gall blad­der re­moved. I can’t tell you how phe­nom­e­nal the Clinic and the staff is. I’ve been in sev­eral times, and I’ve never be­fore ex­pe­ri­enced such a friendly en­vi­ron­ment. I was there one day when a small child didn’t want to leave, he was hav­ing so much fun in the lit­tle play area.”

Pres­i­dent of the Co-op, Carol Mooney, says the di­rec­tors and staff have con­sciously worked at mak­ing the clinic “pa­tient-cen­tered”. “We knew be­fore we opened that we wanted our rep­u­ta­tion to be one of a friendly, wel­com­ing, bilin­gual en­vi­ron­ment where peo­ple could feel com­fort­able ask­ing ques­tions.” Says nurse Janet Manuel, “A great deal of my time is taken up with pa­tients who are wor­ried about some health is­sue. We en­cour­age them to call 811, but when they are still wor­ried, we take the time to lis­ten, ed­u­cate and ad­vise.”

That’s one of the things An­dré Roy ap­pre­ci­ates about the Clinic. “I’ve been com­ing a few times a week since my surgery to have a dress­ing changed. Nurse Janet is just so ap­proach­able: she dis­cusses the treat­ment so my wife knows what to do on week­ends. She can see any changes right away and even an­tic­i­pates what needs to be done with­out my ask­ing. I re­ally trust her judg­ment.”

“We are reach­ing out to ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity to help us find an­other doc­tor for one day a week,” says Mooney. “We know we are now a vi­tal part of the Mas­saw­ippi Val­ley – our staff have had al­most 5,000 ap­point­ments this past year, in­clud­ing blood tests, mi­nor surg­eries and other health treat­ments. We have many peo­ple reg­is­tered on a wait­ing list that we can­not serve un­til one more doc­tor comes to work with us one day a week. It’s such a lit­tle to ask to make such a huge dif­fer­ence to our com­mu­nity.”

With­out ex­cep­tion, mem­bers of the co-op high­light the fact that this small clinic knows them per­son­ally and they know the staff. “It’s so much eas­ier to ask ques­tions and get an­swers when you can sit down to dis­cuss your worry,” says Richard Dezan. Remi Fer­land says, “My wife and I used to talk about hav­ing to move to Ma­gog or Sher­brooke af­ter we re­tired, be­cause older peo­ple need more med­i­cal care. We don’t talk about it any­more. Ayer’s Cliff has al­ways been a won­der­ful place to live. Now that it has a health clinic and a phar­macy, we don’t need to move any­where.”

Pho­tos cour­tesy

The Mas­saw­ippi Val­ley Health Cen­tre, lo­cated in Ayer’s Cliff, re­cently cel­e­brated its first year of op­er­a­tions.

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