• Taking an A-Z team approach with the PCN Geriatric Assessment Program

    Colleen Lindholm | January 17, 2012

    CAMROSE, AB – The Camrose Primary Care Network is pleased to offer an innovative and collaborative program, the Geriatric Assessment Program (GAP). This program is available in Camrose and area for individuals 65 years and older who are experiencing:

    • Frequent falls
    • Signs of memory loss or established dementia
    • Bladder concerns
    • Decreased mobility
    • Difficulty coping in their own home or community.

    This successful program takes a team and community approach to ensure identified concerns can be dealt with in a timely fashion and to support the patient in their home environment.

    To get started, if you or you know of someone who is experiencing the identified concerns, talk to your family doctor about being referred to the GAP.  The referral will be assessed by the Geriatric Mental Health Team at Alberta Health Services (AHS) Addiction and Mental Health.  If appropriate, the patient will be booked for a geriatric assessment with Dr. Valerie Smith, Care of the Elderly Physician specialist for the GAP program.

    Dr. Smith then works with the patient, their caregiver(s), family member(s), their family doctor, Camrose PCN and Alberta Health Services (AHS) healthcare providers to develop an appropriate and patient centered care plan.
    “The focus of the Geriatric Program is to assist physicians in the management of seniors with complex healthcare needs. A Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment is an A-Z approach to identify factors leading to impaired function in a Geriatric Patient,” states Dr. Val Smith, Lead Physician of the GAP. 

    “As we age we have fewer reserves from which to draw on in times of illness. Presentation of illness in the elderly is elusive. Often an infection will present with multiple falls, confusion and urinary retention rather than a cough suggesting pneumonia.   Those who benefit most have had a recent decline in function , sudden deterioration in physical or mental health ,  increased utilization of Emergency Services  , are at risk for placement and have unmet needs in the community.” adds Dr. Smith.

    Fundamental partnerships in the GAP have been developed, and are key to the success of the program. “The collaboration between Community Addiction and Mental Health and the Camrose PCN is very innovative, collaborative and creative while professionally serving the seniors in our community and surrounding area”, states Brenda Nelson, Program Manager, Community Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services Central Zone-East.

    “The PCN is very fortunate to be able to partner with existing services within the community, such as our key partner, Alberta Health Services Community Addiction and Mental Health, states Stacey Strilchuk, Camrose PCN Executive Director.  “The Camrose PCN is also very proud to have Dr. Smith as part of the PCN physician team and understands the importance of the GAP to patients, families and/or caregivers.” 

    Patients, their families and/or caregivers can access the GAP through referral by their family doctor. For more information please call (780) 608-4927, email info@camrosepcn.com , or visit Geriatric Assessment Program page.

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