“They gave me my life back, they really did,” said Keith Martin.
Recently, Keith was a participant in a day hospital in Saskatoon. The Geriatric Evaluation and Management program, also known as GEM, is for older adults with complex health issues who need support in achieving their optimum level of health so they can continue living at home.
“This program did for me what nobody else could do for me,” said Keith, who has experienced reduced pain, fewer medications and a renewed zest for life since joining the program.
“It’s been so positive,” added his wife Hilda. “It was the multi-disciplinary team approach that really worked.”
Patients like Keith first meet with a multi-disciplinary team to determine which supports they require. For some patients, the next step is attending the day hospital. Twice a week for six to eight weeks they meet with the team – including a physician, geriatric psychiatrist, pharmacist, recreational therapist, nurse practitioner, nurse, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech language pathologist and social worker – to work through different aspects of their care (e.g., medication changes, new housing options, community supports).
Keith and Hilda Martin
“In addition to having access to hospital services such as diagnostics, we also work closely with community partners and therapists to connect people to other programs and services, so that when they’ve completed the program with us there is continuity of care for patients and caregivers,” said GEM Manager Bernene Cohen.
“I loved every minute of the day: the socializing at breakfast with brain teasers, the work with the physiotherapist, and the games and activities,” said Olive Genereux, a participant in the program last year.
“I don’t know who loved the program more: mom or me!” said Olive’s daughter Janie. “Mom left the program much stronger, physically and emotionally, and more confident than when she entered. The family conference at the end was incredibly valuable. I still refer to comments made by the team and the notes I took.”
Janie and her mother Olive decorating Christmas garland at Preston Park II.