BC doctors are always looking to improve the way care is provided, particularly to our aging population. One area of concern is the complex disease of dementia. Geriatricians Drs Leena Jain and Michael Peter O'Connor through funding from the Specialist Services Committee, a joint partnership of doctors and the government have developed a new Dementia Process that will be piloted in Fraser Health over the next several years. The process includes education and mentoring to help with early diagnosis and treatment.
Drs. Jain and O’Connor partnered with UBC and Divisions of Family Practice in Surrey/North Delta, Langley and South Surrey/White Rock to develop physician education resulting in a new inter-professional dementia guide to simplify the process for family physicians or nurse practitioners to diagnose and provide treatment to a person in the early stages of dementia.
Dr. O’Connor “Evidence suggests that dementia, especially in early stages, remains under-detected, under-diagnosed, under-disclosed, and under-treated/managed."
By streamlining the process, it is expected treatment and support will be delivered early to better manage the disease and help patients maintain their quality of life. As well, a mentoring program will partner dementia specialists with primary care providers to help diagnose and treat dementia, particularly in its early stages.
Co-lead Dr. Leena Jain states, “more than 20,000 people in the Fraser Health region live with dementia and that number is expected to rise by more than 70 per cent over the next decade.”
The issue may be magnified in the South Asian community due to cultural context and perceptions on aging. With more than 200,000 people of South Asian descent living in the Fraser Health region, the strategy includes developing culturally sensitive information and approaches.
As a result of this pilot, it is anticipated that a Dementia Primary Care Education module will be developed, and become an accepted provincial CME program for all BC primary care practitioners