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New program provides reliable transportation for medical appointments
The Caring Circle Advisory Committee is happy to announce that the Driver Initiative Program will be phased in over the next few weeks. In late spring, Barry Adams enthusiastically approached Colleen O’Neil, our volunteer navigator/coordinator, with the idea of starting a driving support team to help people on island who have no reliable means of getting to medical appointments (laboratory, physician, tests or procedures) both on Bowen and the Mainland.
Sixteen people have volunteered to be part of this driver team. As well, we have also formed a Volunteer Support Team for this program. The team consists of: Mary Ellen deGrace, John Morrison and Diane Marshall. They have developed a Volunteer Driver Manual of guidelines for the drivers. All drivers must complete a criminal record check, submit a Driver’s Abstract from ICBC and have attended a Driver Orientation to be a part of the Driver Team.
In order to request a ride from one of our volunteer drivers please go to our website at caringcircle.ca and click on the "Ride Needed" icon. A page with information about the program will also provide you with our dispatcher’s contact information. Please email the dispatcher with your request.
If you do not have access to a computer phone the Caring Circle (604 947-9100) and you will be given a dispatcher’s phone number. For first requests, the dispatcher or a volunteer at Caring Circle will fill-out an intake form.
The dispatcher will endeavour to match your request for a Caring Circle driver. As soon as the driver is engaged, you will be informed. If, in a few days, a driver cannot be found, our dispatcher will contact you to let you know that your request cannot be filled.
Please note that you should try to reserve a ride as soon as you have an appointment date so that there is enough time to make the necessary arrangements. One possibility for finding a ride might be found by registering with the newly formed transportation support group at www.facebook.com/groups/bowenislandrideshare.
A brochure will be available at the Caring Circle, your doctor’s office, and Cates Pharmacy with details of this program.
If you are going to a specialist appointment or to have a hospital procedure, it is advisable that you obtain and fill out a T.A.P. form which will exempt you and your driver from having to pay a fare for the ferry. The T.A.P. form is available from your family physician at time of referral. Lion's Gate Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency also have the forms at their admissions desk. The T.A.P. forms may be obtained from the office of some specialists. It is preferable to acquire the form or inquire if they are available from your specialist prior to your appointment.
Our hope is that people will find our program easy to use and that it will allow people to more comfortably seek necessary health care. If you have no other way of getting to medically related appointments, we invite you to participate in this exciting pilot project.