LEAMINGTON, Ont. – Erie Shores HealthCare has developed a new health aid card expected to help migrant workers.

Officials at the Leamington hospital hope the card will tackle the language and information barrier that may exist in an emergency medical situation.

“I know firsthand how important it is that ESHC’s Emergency Department is accessible and able to care for all community members in a safe and efficient manner,” says ESHC clinical director Michele Reiser. “Our hope is to be a leader within the province, showcasing this model, so it can be expanded into other regions where migrant workers are recruited.’

Essex County is a large employer of migrant workers, with many of them working at the local farms and in greenhouses. As a result, ESHC is the primary provider of medical services and in some cases, emergency services to the migrant population.

“This initiative means that the farm workers will have access to the first aids in an easier and faster way,” says Lariza Mendoza, program coordinator of the Migrant Worker Community Program. “Now the workers can feel confident that their families will be informed in case they have a medical emergency.”

Six months ago, ESHC’s Emergency Department identified opportunities for improved, safer services for our migrant worker population in the region, especially, in light of the growth within the greenhouse operations.

The hospital connected with community partners to develop and implement a strategy that will assist and enhance the experience of migrant workers when they arrive in the ER.

Officials say the health aid card allows workers to access health care services in an efficient manner and without facing the language barriers and enables them to receive appropriate treatment according to their medical history.

The card also assists hospital staff in caring for patients on their health care journey from patient registration to patient care and treatment planning.