The primary focus of the Rural Dementia Action Research team (RaDAR) is early diagnosis and early care for those with dementia in rural and remote Saskatchewan, with the goal of locally-delivered care.
The RaDAR team, based at the University of Saskatchewan, began working with the Kipling Primary Health Care team in August 2014, and together, designed and implemented a local 1-day memory clinic, which includes the elements of team-based care, specialist-to-provider support, and decision support tools.
Some key member of the RaDAR team: (from left): Dr. Julie Kosteniuk, Dr. Megan O’Connell, Dr. Debra Morgan and Dr. Andrew Kirk.
In setting up the clinic, the team focused on learning best-practice, and having the tools and resources to support patients and their families. So they developed case conferences between the team, their patients and families, including the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan First Link Coordinator. They also adapted PC-Data assessment and management flow sheets for use in early diagnosis of dementia as a best-practice to ensure they were meeting the needs of patients, then added the flow sheets electronically to the EMR system. They developed a process for early discussions with patients around retirement from driving and created standard work to help with those discussions.
Education was provided on the PC-DATA tools by Dr. Dallas Seitz, and on differential diagnosis, capacity and competency by Dr. Andrew Kirk and Dr. Megan O’Connell. Several team members spent a day at the Rural and Remote Memory clinic to learn about their process.
Their team-based, collaborative approach has now spread to Weyburn, where patient counseling and physical therapy were added to the team, as well as Radville and Bengough.
Weyburn Memory Clinic Team (from left): Dr. Jared Oberkirsch, Physician, Kimberly Bitz, Occupational Therapist, Erica Matthews, Social Worker, Katelyn Kaufman, Physical Therapist, Jennifer Hill, Primary Health Care Facilitator, Trina Hodgson, Client Services Manager, Alzheimer’s Society of Saskatchewan.
Bengough Memory Clinic Team (from left): Trina Hodgson, Client Services Manager, Alzheimer’s Society of Saskatchewan , Katelyn Kaufman, Physical Therapist, Heidi Watson, Occupational Therapist, Deanna Hoffart, Home Care Nurse, Melissa McEwen, Nurse Practitioner
Researchers are hoping to spread this idea provincially. Dr. Debra Morgan and Dr. Julie Kosteniuk have been moving it forward. Some off-shoot research projects have begun as a result of the study, including one on patient and family experience led by Dr. Melanie Bayly and another on team-based care in delivery of dementia care to rural patients led by Dr. Amanda Froelich-Chow.
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