The Bear River & Area Community Health Clinic held its official opening on May 27, 1995. It is located on River Road in a building that used to be home to the Royal Bank. A team of volunteers led the fundraising and remodelling of the building obtaining many donations along the way to complete the project. The building was christened “The Dr. D.S. Brennan Building” in honour of Dr. Brennan who had been Bear River’s only physician. After a career of house visits, working out of the old Digby hospital as well as seeing patients in an office at his own home, he chose to retire but his legacy lives on through The Bear River & Area Community Health Clinic.
Bear River is a community divided by a river. One side of the river is Annapolis County, and the other side is Digby County. A mandate of our clinic is to remove barriers and see any member of our community, no matter which side of the river they reside on.
Since its opening in 1995, the clinic has continued to function as a charitable organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors. We have had many hurdles to overcome including a devastating fire in 2006, lack of government funding and persistent, province wide doctor shortages.
While we have been fortunate enough in the past to offer the services of a doctor or nurse practitioner 4 days a month, the clinic has also been creative in offering other means of preventative health care to its patients. Over the years we have offered breast exam, blood pressure, and foot care clinics. We have had first aid training, pre-natal clinics, sign language classes, and seminars on coping with stress and depression. Other services that have been offered at the clinic over the years include: a registered nurse, an audiologist, flu shot clinics, and memory clinics. Currently the Clinic is a Virtual Care Hub assisting our community members in connecting with a virtual care doctor, we are a host site for the mobile clinic and we offer massage therapy, acupuncture, pedorthics, foot care and electrolysis.
The recent retirement of our last physician left 1200 patients with no family doctor. We continue to advocate for our community members by connecting with Physician Recruiters and Community Navigators, by working with The Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment Community Fund, Nova Scotia Health Authority, our MLA, Jill Balser and the Premier of Nova Scotia, Tim Houston in a relentless effort to attract a doctor to our wonderful river community.