Help is available for Boundary residents needing transportation to medical appointments or visits to care centres.
“We offer a driving service to people who are unable to have their own rides,” explained Christine Brooks, Boundary Area Volunteer Driver Program office manager. “Whether there is no family or they are not available for transportation when anything like a dental or doctor appointment is scheduled, even if they need to go to the drug store to renew a prescription. Anything medical related, we have volunteer drivers who will drive people to their appointments no matter where it is—even as distant as Kelowna, Penticton, Trail, Nelson or Castlegar.”
Brooks explained that because some clients may have mobility issues or other unique needs, an intake interview is done over the phone to make sure their needs are accommodated. “They are matched up with the driver and vehicle that most closely suits them and their needs.”
If a client wants their spouse or caregiver to accompany them, then they are accommodated as well.
Referral to the service might come from a medical practitioner, community care worker or the client himself or herself.
The Boundary Area Volunteer Driver Program is possible through the sharing of resources and abilities of three groups: Boundary Community Hospice Association manages the service; joining them to provide ride services in the West Boundary are the Kettle River Seniors (Branch #102) with their Wheels of Wellness vehicle; and thirdly, Interior Health.
There is a charge for the service to cover fuel and maintenance of the vehicle. Subsidy is available based on need, and rates may vary depending on pickup location.
“The program wouldn’t exist without our drivers,” said Brooks. “They are amazing people. We have a list of clients who request certain drivers because they have bonded with them and gotten to know them and they take them to their regular appointments.”
Volunteer drivers must have a valid driver’s license, do a criminal records check (costs will be reimbursed) and have a driver’s abstract done.
Brooks has information packages available with all of the appropriate forms for those interested in the service either as a client or volunteer driver.
For more information contact them at 250-584-4618 or, in the case of clients living in the West Boundary using the Wheels of Wellness, contact Isabella (Issy) McLean at 250-446-2977.