Wednesday, 21 September 2016 15:50

Seniors’ Fitness and Lifestyle Program

The Seniors’ Fitness and Lifestyle Program will be starting up on Monday September 26 at the Sharbot Lake Medical Centre in the Community Room. This free program consists of aerobic and strengthening exercises instructed by a Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging certified seniors’ fitness instructor, monthly healthy lifestyle education sessions, seasonal social activities, and more! There will two moderate-vigorous level classes held twice per week from 9am-10am and 10:15am-11:15am on Mondays and Thursdays. There will also be a gentle chair-based class held once per week from 11:30am-12:15pm on Thursdays. For more information or to register please call 613-279-2100.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016 23:13

Diabetes Cooking Class

Are you sometimes confused about what healthy eating looks like when you have diabetes? Have you ever been told to avoid certain foods or entire food groups in order to control your blood sugar levels? Sharbot Lake Family Health Team Dietitians are here to help clear up all the confusion!

Starting Tuesday September 6 from 1:30-4:30pm the dietitians will be offering Diabetes Friendly Cooking Classes every Tuesday for 5 weeks. Topics covered will include: The importance of including healthy carbohydrates, high fibre choices, heart healthy eating, lower sugar eating, and how to read a nutrition label. Each session will also include cooking a healthy recipe and group discussion. Classes are open to anyone diagnosed with Prediabetes or Diabetes as well as anyone caring for someone with Diabetes. Call Megan at 613-279-2100 ext. 107 for more information or to register.  


It's been two months since Brenda Bonner retired after working for eight years as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) at the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team.

At 64, she was feeling that it was time to take a step back from full time work in a clinic. She saw patients at the clinic four days a week, often working through lunch and into the early evening, and she did a lot of paperwork at home.

“All in all it was a full time commitment,” she said this week from her home in Perth. Her work as a nurse practitioner, which came after a long career as a registered nurse, was some of the most rewarding in her career, and after taking a step back for a few weeks she has thought about her own future, about the future for nurse practitioners in general, and about their role in a reformed healthcare system in Ontario.

For her own part, Bonner has been considering a number of options.

“I would like to keep working, but with more balance in my life, more time for family,” she said.

She is considering taking on patients for house calls.

“For various reasons, including transportation issues, there are patients who require care in their own homes, so I might do some of that work. It is not covered by OHIP, but some supplemental health insurance policies will cover it,” she said.

She might be doing relief work in a community health centre in the vicinity of her home in Perth, and also some in-service education to health care organisations, to promote and maintain health knowledge and skills.

“I didn't have any of these ideas when I left Sharbot Lake, but over the last couple of months I have been considering how I can continue to work on my own terms by setting these things up. It is different for me since my whole career has basically been as an employee at only two jobs, as an RN in one location for 30 years and as an NP for eight years in Sharbot Lake. It's a change to be setting up a business of my own at this time,” she said.

Bonner has also spent time, before and after she left the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team, considering potential changes in the role that nurse practitioners play in the heath care system.

She supports some of the initiatives that are being promoted by the Nurse Practitioners Association of Ontario (NPAO).

“When the NPAO made submissions to the Ministry of Finance for the upcoming Ontario budget, they highlighted a few items that would make a difference for NPs and save money for the system as well,” she said.

One item that was featured in the submission is to deal with the pay and benefits gap between NPs who work in hospitals and those who work in primary care clinics.

“Salaries have been frozen since 2006 in clinics, which has led to a $30,000 pay gap, plus, NPs who work in hospitals enjoy the pension and benefits plans in the hospitals. This means that when positions in hospitals come open, NPs leave clinics, often rural clinics, for those jobs,” said Bonner.

The NPAO also supports the “right care in the right time in the right place, by the right provider”, an initiative of the ministry that intends to redirect healthcare dollars so they start to follow the patients and not the providers.

Bonner cited a case that illustrates how this is not happening currently. Public health units that were running sexual health clinics led by nurse practitioners have been switching to contracted clinics run by doctors. This has been done for financial reasons. The health units pay the NPs out of their own budgets, whereas the doctors can bill OHIP directly for the service. This is a financial benefit for the cash-strapped health units, but since the doctors’ billings are higher than the cost of clinics led by the nurse practitioners, ultimately there is a greater cost to the healthcare system as a whole and the ratepayers who fund it.

Finally, the NPAO is supportive of an initiative to locate NPs on a full time basis in long-term care facilities.

“Acuity level is increasing in long-term care facilities. Seniors are staying at home longer, and they are older and sicker when they go into long-term care. Nurse Practitioners on staff save doctor visits and visits to emergency units at hospitals,” said Bonner.

Thursday, 25 February 2016 07:41

Good Food Box - Sharbot Lake

Are you interested in having wholesale fruits and vegetables available in Sharbot Lake? Ordering in groups helps to decrease costs of fresh, healthy produce below regular store prices! If there’s enough community interest, Mike Dean’s and Sharbot Lake Family Health Team are ready to offer this deal to the community.

$10 small box includes approx. 10 items

$15 large box includes approx. 15 items

Although food prices fluctuate, the Good Food Box prices will stay the same each month and we will work to provide variety month to month.

Pay by the 1st Thursday of each month at the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team and pick it up on the 3rd Friday of each month between 2 and 4pm in the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team downstairs community room.

This program was offered several years ago and was quite popular; however, it was discontinued primarily due to lack of space for packing and storing the boxes. Our hope as a Family Health Team is that this can help make it easier for you and your family to eat healthy fruits and vegetables!

Need some motivation to start increasing your fruit and vegetable intake?

A diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Individuals who eat more than five servings have about a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, compared with individuals who eat less than three servings per day.

Some types of fruits and vegetables may protect against certain cancers.

Increased consumption of leafy vegetables and whole fruits is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. High consumption of fruit juice however, is associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Orders for March are due Thursday March 3, 2016. Please contact Megan Burns at 613-279-2100 ext. 107 for more information or to place an order.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 15:14

The Table teams up with the Family Health Team

The Table Community Food Centre in Perth has reached out to the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team as a partner in running their wellness program called FoodFit. 

FoodFit is a 12-week program for anyone who wants to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle through moderate exercise and healthy eating. The goal is to give people the tools they need to make choices that will improve their health. The program combines fun, hands-on cooking sessions and food-based activities with take-home recipes, shared meals and snacks, easy-to-understand nutrition information, group exercise and self-directed goal-setting. We will be making soups, sauces, and salad dressings from scratch as well as healthy snacks and recipes with new and interesting flavours

With the help of a nurse from the health centre, we will track blood pressure and other health indicators at the start and end of the program, and provide pedometers so participants can monitor daily steps. A dietitian at the health centre will be involved in teaching nutritional topics as well as available to answer any specific questions.

“I am excited about running this program because it doesn’t pretend that everyone is at the same stage, it gives people room to set their own goals based on where they are at in life,” says The Table’s Community Kitchen Coordinator, Rosie Kerr. She explains that the Foodfit model is designed to respect the limits of people’s individual circumstances, and encourage everyone to “take small steps, and make changes they can live with.”

This program will be free of charge and open to any age. Childcare will be provided upon request. The program will take place at the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team Mondays from 1-4pm starting March 7. Priority will be given to community members who self identify as living in a low-income household.

For more information or to register contact Rosie Kerr, the Community Kitchen Coordinator at the Table, 613-267-6428 ext. 6 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please register as soon as possible (preferably by March 1) for this exciting new program so organizers can prepare.


Are you interested in getting more active? Did you know there is a group that meets downstairs at the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team every Thursday at 1:30pm and goes for a walk until 2:30pm? Did you know that a nurse and dietitian also go on this walk and discuss important health topics each week? It’s true! There’s also equipment to use free of charge including: snowshoes, walking poles, hand weights, and pedometers. Everyone is welcome, it’s free to anyone, and everyone can go his or her own pace.

The benefits of walking are incredible. It is a simple, safe, inexpensive way to improve blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, bone health, weight, energy, alertness, stress, tension, sleep, the list goes on. Walking also exercises multiple muscle groups including the arms, shoulders, abs, quadriceps, hip flexors, and hamstrings! In addition, walking reduces the risk of colon cancer, builds bone mass which reduces the risk of osteoporosis, improves balance, improves heart health by increasing heart rate and circulation, decreases your risk of catching a cold by 50%, reduces glaucoma risk, and halves Alzheimer’s disease over 5 years. Walking is also an exercise option for all ages!

It is recommended that most people complete at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise each week. When you are ready, resistance exercises such as lifting weights should be added into your routine three times each week. There’s never a bad time to start increasing your physical activity level. Things that can help to keep you on track are doing something enjoyable, have a buddy join you, set very small achievable goals and celebrate meeting these goals often!

Please call 613-279-2100 for more information or to register for the walking group out of the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team.


In an effort to spread awareness about addiction and mental health services that are available to residents in North, Central and South Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington, Melissa Switzer-Ferguson, an addictions counselor with Addiction & Mental Health Services of Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington (AMHS-KFLA), wants rural residents to be aware that she is currently offering a number of services in Sharbot Lake and in Verona. Ferguson, who is currently working with the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team at the medical center in Sharbot Lake, said that she hopes to make residents aware of the wide variety of free and confidential services that she offers. These include individual counseling for substance and behavioral addictions; group counseling services; rural mental health outreach; and other treatment groups for both mental health and addiction. Staff at AMHS-KFLA also partner with other community organizations to bring their services to those in need of them. All of these services are free of charge and confidential, and appointments can be made either through self-referrals, through family doctors, or by concerned significant other family members. While addiction services are easily available to urban dwellers, residents in rural areas, who can often tend be isolated, also face other challenges to accessing services like a lack of transportation, which can make getting the help they need an obstacle. Ferguson said that the goal of the rural outreach services are to make the services more available, while reducing stigma and letting residents know what sorts of programs are available to them.

“The ultimate goal,” Ferguson said, “is not only to raise awareness of the services that are available but to provide rural residents with equitable and accessible addiction and mental health services.” With the holiday season approaching, many people can find this time of year particularly difficult, and Ferguson said that her organization also has a crisis hotline that operates 24/7 and can be reached by calling 613-544-4229. Anyone wanting additional information about the many and varied supports and services offered through AMHS-KFLA can call 613-544-1356.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 23:08

Seniors' fitness in Sharbot Lake

A senior's exercise program is offered free of charge through the Sharbot Lake Family Health Team, and on December 8 participants attended the final week of classes for the fall session. Judging by the 65 seniors who just wrapped up the program, local seniors know well that one of the best ways to stave off the negative effects of aging and to stay healthy is to be active.

“Exercise at any age is beneficial,” said Ashley Williams, the new occupational therapist at the SLFHT, who sparked off the eight-session program, which began in October 2014. The one-hour classes were held at the community room at the Sharbot Lake Medical Centre and included a cardio component with walking and other aerobic exercises; upper and lower body strength training; exercises for the core and also balance and coordination exercises. The program includes an educational component and every few weeks a health care professional spoke to participants about a specific health-related topic. The fall session included a visit by the SLFHT's registered dietician, who spoke about appropriate sizes of meal portions, protein shakes and more.

Williams outlined the benefits to seniors of regular exercise and how the fitness classes help improve cardio-vascular performance, over-all strength, balance and coordination, which together can help minimize falls. The social benefits are also worth mentioning and the classes offer seniors the chance to meet regularly with friends, form new relationships and have fun while exercising.

Williams said that participants have spoken about having increased strength and overall health as a result of the classes, with some being able to perform tasks around their homes that they had been unable to perform prior to the classes.

The 2015 winter session will begin on January 19. Classes take place on Mondays and Thursdays. Participants should wear rubber-soled shoes and loose clothing. For more information, contact Ashley Williams at 6132-279-2100 ext 128.