Health authority teams up to improve dementia care

NANAIMO – Survey gathers information from families, patients.

Island Health will team up with patients and family members to improve dementia care at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

A Nanaimo health team has been chosen to participate in a year-long, national program aimed at improving dementia care, according to a press release by Island Health.

The initiative, a program of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, will see Island Health get $50,000 to collect feedback from patients and their families at one unit at the Nanaimo hospital, including how they can be more involved in care at the hospital, specific activities that would improve the transition home and ways to better prepare for future hospitalizations. The team will also engage those involved in dementia care, including geriatric psychiatrists and caregiver non-profit organizations.

Changes could include offering a list of ways to prepare for hospital visits, or working on the physical environment to make it more welcoming and less confusing for someone having a hard time taking in visual cues, according to Dr. Marianne McLennan, Island Health’s director of seniors and spiritual health.

Lessons learned will be shared within the health authority and used to adjust practices in other hospitals.

“People in health care have studied the fact that if people are more involved in making decisions and working with us around their health goals that they actually have better outcomes,” McLennan said. “So you’ll see a trend across all kinds of areas in health care to engage people more actively in making … decisions and being part of their health care.”