City Profile: Devo
The City of Devo is home to 2.4 million people and is celebrated as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. In this modern urban centre, the challenge of meeting the health and social needs of the general population and historically marginalized groups is met by providers of the city’s health and community services every day. Agencies serving the needs of recent immigrant groups, LGBTQ, physically and mentally challenged, Aboriginal health centres, are just a few examples of services provided in an environment that strives for greater inclusivity.
Like most modern cities, Devo has its share of urban pressures. Devo is home to the countries fastest growing immigration population, an aging population, and expects to see significant increases in the numbers if Aboriginal youth within the next 10 years. Coupled with reduced government spending, increased demand for health and social services, crumbling buildings, lack of affordable housing, high unemployment, rising food costs, youth unemployment, limited daycare spaces, and hospital emergency room overcrowding, the public and nonprofit sectors are stretched to their maximum capacity to provide quality services. Front line workers are struggling to do more with less.
Following traditional models of providing multiprofessional service and care, the City of Devo has been slow to adapt its organisational practices to meet the complex social problems facing today’s urban population. As social and health goals become more clearly interconnected, new models of care that focus holistically on the patient/client needs are being explored. Unfortunately, in Devo, reluctance to change and a recession have left old silos intact. Even where services are housed in the same buildings, professional segregation still exists. This serves to reinforce a status quo that favors professional hierarchy, power imbalance and the preservation of negative professional stereotypes. Few opportunities exist for workers to explore their own role in relation to others, or to form collaborative working relationships.
Not all aspects of a multiprofessional practice are negative. This expert-centred approach has led to increased visibility and credibility of particular fields. The establishment of regulatory bodies and standards of practice has strengthened the capacity, for example, of Midwifery, Social Work and Urban Planning professions. Unregulated fields have also benefitted from professional boundaries as they have formed communities of practice and have learned profession-specific client service and profession-advocacy.
Within this fragile structure, pestilence lurks. Bedbugs have invaded the city reaching into the cracks and crevices of public and private buildings in pockets throughout the city. Public Health has declared a medical emergency forcing the closure of buildings in the most heavily infested areas while intense clean up takes place. Most significantly affected are community centres, residential buildings and local agencies and clinics. Also, Devo Community Housing tenants and adjacent services are being relocated.
What to do?
On the outskirts of the City of Devo, an Olympic sized stadium sits empty. Constructed as an open space with movable walls, it is determined that all health and social services within this overlapping catchment area will be temporarily relocated under one roof in order to reduce disruption of care to clients and patients. It is not conveniently located, however, it is the only current solution on the table.
Due to a lack of resources, it is agreed that interprofessional practice teams will provide the most efficient method of service. A disparate group of professionals is going to have to come together to provide the best possible client service in the face of this crisis.
On a positive note, some predict that service providers will rise to the challenge of a collaborative style of working and that patients and clients may even be better served by interprofessional teams of service providers. That’s the theory.
What happens next is up to you...