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CCTC helping those with mobility issues

By Christina Van Starkenburg

Alice Grenon demonstrates the wheelchair lift on one of Carefor’s new transportation vehicles.

Alice Grenon demonstrates the wheelchair lift on one of Carefor’s new transportation vehicles.

Getting to doctors’ appointments and grocery stores will be easier for people with transportation issues in Renfrew County. The Champlain Community Transportation Collaborative (CCTC) has been working with 26 Community Support Services (CSS) agencies across the Champlain region to improve the service.

In her presentation to the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) board, Alice Grenon acknowledged that the primary clients of the CCTC will be seniors and adults with physical disabilities. However, due to the rural nature of Renfrew County, other residents with transportation issues will be able to access the service.

“In rural communities, such Renfrew County, we don’t have a lot of public transportation. So we might very well have a client in a rural community who needs to get to an Ottawa hospital who may not be 50 or 60 years of age, but there are still transportation barriers. So we would look at how to fill that transportation need,” said Grenon.

Grenon updated the board on the progress of the collaboration, and explained how the system was becoming more streamlined because of the regional outlook.

“With a regional program you have that bird’s eye view of the region,” she said. That bird’s eye view allows the different agencies to share drivers, and the drivers will be able to drive more than one client at a time because they will be able to see where people are coming from and going to. It will also allow the aencies to find something for the drivers to do while they are waiting for a client to finish their appointment.

Grenon noted that having the shared system allows them to more effectively serve the region, because if one agency is unable to accommodate an individual another one likely will be able to, and this is something that the clients have already been doing themselves.

“When we started to input (the client’s) information, we soon realized that this client, who is a client of Carefor, is also a client of Eganville, is also a client of Renfrew. So if our clients called our agency today and we can’t give them a drive, they’d pick up the phone and call the next agency. We had clients in multiple agencies, so this is a good tool to start bringing everybody into one common database,” said Grenon.

In Renfrew County the amount of people using the service doubled between the 2011-2012 fiscal year and the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Luckily, Carefor was recently able to purchase some agency vehicles, which brings the entire CCTC fleet up to 48 vehicles.

“Our vision moving forward is to have an affordable transportation system available across the Champlain LHIN region,” said Grenon during her presentation.

Christina Van Starkenburg is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist.

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