Support centre brings new level of care to military personnel, families

Integrated system one of 24 based nation-wide

Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Steve Orwick at the reception area of the new offices of the Integrated Personnel Support Centre. Orwick and his family used services offered by the centre after Orwick was stricken with a serious illness. Ready to help out are Leading Seamen Laura Golden



When Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Steve Orwick lay fighting for his life in hospital with a poisoned pancreas earlier this year, a team of people – beyond the usual doctors and nurses – leapt into action to ensure he and his family were taken care of.

“When I had a military person at my (hospital) bed, there was a huge peace of mind that there was an attention to me, but also there was an attention to the family and those needs, because there’s added expenses to having a person in the hospital,” Orwick said.

The team of administrators that supported him celebrated last Thursday with the opening of CFB Esquimalt’s new Integrated Personnel Support Centre. Though it has been in existence for more than a year, it didn’t have a permanent home.

Now it is one of 24 units across the country providing a one-stop administrative shop to more than 3,500 past and present personnel and families of the fallen.

“We come to the injured person, the injured person doesn’t have to come to us,” said Col. Gerry Blais, Ottawa-based director of Canadian Forces Casualty Support Management, which heads up the units.

Personnel have instant access to Veterans Affairs Canada and the Military Family Resource Centre, among other experts who help them fill out paperwork, access career counselling, financial services, pensions, benefits, and assist them with returning back to work after an injury or illness, or helping them prepare for the civilian world.

“It’s very helpful because the (Department of National Defence) is big, there are many benefits and there are many programs,” said Blais. “And for an individual to try to meander their way through that is not always simple, whereas here they’ve got somebody basically to hold their hand and guide them through the entire process.”

The new centre works as a safety net for injured and mentally or physically sick members preparing for life beyond the military.

Phil Quesnelle remembers a time when “there was nothing we could do and nowhere where we could send (veterans). It was crazy, there were no resources for them.”

The Canadian Army veteran, who works at the centre linking veterans who suffer from operational stress injuries with support services, has found vets in Victoria’s homeless shelters or living in the bush on Vancouver Island.

Today, their numbers are fewer, due in large part to a more integrated approach to care offered by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence.

“We really have come a long way,” said Quesnelle. “It’s huge. It means the issues are being caught before the person leaves (the military).”

 

 

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP tape off Langford law office sent suspicious substance last month

No confirmation as to why police were back at Hemminger Law Group Monday afternoon

Meet Your Candidates: Six candidates running for four spots on View Royal council

Candidates outline how they would make View Royal a better place

BC SPCA sees successful weekend from adoption sales

On Saturday animal shelters across the province reduced their adoption fees

Central Saanich will allow police officers to use pot

Marijuana use by officers not allowed 24 hours before duty

Campers near Saanich municipal hall await response from transportation ministry

MOTI expected to decide Monday when campers need to leave

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Most Read