Coming into the city for health care services can be difficult for many rural residents, especially for those with dementia who need to attend memory clinics. A new project of the Saskatchewan Health Authority is providing those services to rural communities.
The newly developed Rural Primary Health Care Memory Clinics focus on early diagnosis and early care for those with dementia in rural Saskatchewan with the goal of delivering care locally.
The RaDAR team began its work in Kipling five years ago, working with the primary health care team there, made up of a nurse practitioner, physicians, a home care nurse, occupational therapist, and the Alzheimer Society First Link coordinator, and supported by the Primary Health Care facilitator.
Together, they implemented a new family-focused model of dementia assessment which includes the elements of team-based care, specialist-to-provider support, and decision support tools – and set up a memory clinic.
“This clinic is the epitome of team-based care,” says Jean Daku, Nurse Practitioner. “All team members meet the patient on the same day, so the patient has their needs met in one appointment, and leaves the clinic with an action plan.”
After establishing the program in Kipling, the work was spread to Weyburn in 2017, where patient counseling and physical therapy roles were added. Programs in Radville and Bengough soon followed. Now memory clinics are available in all four communities.
Patients and families have expressed their gratitude and positive feedback in getting their needs met in their home communities, and the health care team members are also happy with how the teams are working with the patients and families.
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