Primary Health Care Programs - DFP

A strong primary heath care system supports citizens and communities to be healthy, build partnerships and flourish and enables them to receive the right type of care when and where it is needed most and over time, reducing demand for hospital-based care. Primary Health Care Programs support Family Physicians in providing patient care through a number of programs.

Community Health Teams

Community Health Teams offer a wide range of free health and wellness programs that support individuals and families to build knowledge, confidence and skills to make positive lifestyle choices and better prevent and manage risk factors that are common across chronic conditions.

The Community Health Teams also offer wellness navigation, working collaboratively with family physicians, community groups, specialty programs and other providers and groups to support individuals and families to make linkages with the appropriate services, supports, or programs that are needed to achieve optimal health.

Your Way to Wellness

Your Way to Wellness is a free chronic disease self management program that helps people with chronic conditions (and their caregivers) overcome daily challenges, take action and live a healthy life. Groups meet weekly for two and half hours for six weeks and are led by trained volunteers (most of whom have chronic conditions themselves). Family and friends are welcome to attend as well.

Behaviour Change Institute (BCI)

The Behaviour Change Institute (BCI) can provide training and consultation services for individuals as well as work groups. BCI can offer health care providers training and support in working with patients and clients who could benefit from assistance in changing unhealthy behaviour patterns.

Family Practice Nurse Program

The Family Practice Nurse Program supports family physicians to integrate a registered nurse into their practice. Working in a family practice setting as part of a collaborative team, a registered nurse improves patient access, enhances quality of service from both a patient and a provider perspective, provides comprehensive patient care and improves health outcomes.

There are currently more than 35 Family Practice Nurses working in primary care across the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Originally an initiative of Primary Health Care developed in collaboration with the Registered Nurses Professional Development Centre, the program has now been expanded across the province into other health zones.

Nurse Practitioners

Primary Health Care has worked to develop and implement new and enhanced primary health care teams that include interdisciplinary providers, such as nurse practitioners. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed advanced education and training to provide a broad range of primary care services. Working collaboratively with family physicians, a nurse practitioner provides primary care for common medical conditions, with a focus on wellness, prevention and education.

Over time, as resources are reallocated to primary health care, it is envisioned that there will be potentially new opportunities to support the role of nurse practitioners in primary care, working with family physicians and others to reach people who do not traditionally access health services and those with complex chronic conditions.


The prideHealth program provides safe and accessible primary health care services for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ). By meeting people in community locations and places that are safe, we hope to establish relationships and build trust as a means to improve the health of the rainbow community.

Building A Better Tomorrow Together (BBTT)

Collaborative interdisciplinary teams working to full scope of practice are better for patients, families, communities and providers. The Building a Better Tomorrow Together provincial initiative is a series of continuing education modules for health care providers that encourages the development, integration and support of interdisciplinary teams.

The modules are aimed at enhancing interprofessional collaboration and patient-centered practice. Core modules reflect competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: Conflict resolution, decision making and leadership, Enhancing collaboration, Interpersonal and communications skills, Roles and responsibilities, Team functioning. Supplementary modules reflect priorities for quality primary health care service delivery: Building community partnerships, Chronic disease self-management support, Generations and learning styles at work, introduction to cultural competence in health care, Program planning and evaluation, Understanding primary health care.

Integrated Chronic Care Service (ICCS)

The Integrated Chronic Care Service (ICCS), formerly known as the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre, is a treatment facility for environmental sensitivities and complex chronic conditions. The ICCS partners with family physicians, local Community Health Teams and other health providers and caregivers in the community to integrate care for individuals with various types of chronic conditions in a multidisciplinary care approach. We accept referrals from family physicians. We also accept referrals from nurse practitioners within Nova Scotia.