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Alzheimer Society of HPE and Quinte Health join forces to improve dementia care

Quinte Health is thrilled to welcome the Alzheimer Society Hastings - Prince Edward (ASHPE) to the emergency department (ED) team at Belleville General Hospital (BGH) and Trenton Memorial Hospital (TMH). 

As of January 16, Lorraine Ross, First Link Care Navigator, ASHPE, has joined the emergency department to help persons living with dementia and their families get the help they need as soon as possible.   

ASHPE estimates that more than 5,000 people in HPE are living with dementia.  Connecting to the right supports early in the dementia journey can make a big difference in the quality of life for both the person diagnosed and their care partners. It can also help prevent trips to the local emergency departments. 

“We know that along with each person is at least one care partner, sometimes more,” explains Angela Meraw, Executive Director, ASHPE.  “The sooner that we can get in someone's life and walk beside them in their journey, connecting them to community services, helps them to stay at home longer which is normally where people want to be.  We’re very keen on making that immediate connection.”

Working weekdays at BGH and TMH, Ross is an integrated part of the ED team.  She explains that it’s vital to put services in the home for individuals experiencing dementia and to focus on supports for their care partners. 

“For people living with dementia, a trip to the ED takes them out of their regular environment where they are comfortable and they have that familiarity of their surroundings.  Providing support to the person living with dementia and their care partner in the moment and providing them with tools and resources for when they return home are some of the main goals of this initiative.”

Quinte Health is the second hospital in Ontario to participate in this pilot initiative supported by the Alzheimer Society.  According to Nicole Valade, Director of Critical Care, Emergency, Community and Rural Services, Quinte Health is seeking ways to be innovative, including working better together with community partners to expand the scope and caliber of services offered to the community.  She is extremely excited at the impact this initiative will have for patients, and the ED team.

“This is an opportunity to avoid admissions to hospital that takes an individual out of the comfort and familiarity of their home.  Remaining at home is best for the patient, it's best for the caregiver, and it's best for the health care system at a time of significant strain.   Lorraine brings with her the tools and the ability to provide that enhanced care to keep patients supported in the environment they are most comfortable.  She will be a support and an educator for the staff as well.”  

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.  To learn how you or your organization can support Alzheimer Awareness, visit https://alzheimer.ca/hpe.

Improving care for patients with dementia and their families. From left: Lina Rinaldi, Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive, Quinte Health; Travis Boivin, Manager of Belleville General Hospital Emergency Department; Sarah Bradshaw, Operations and Program Manager, ASHPE; Lorraine Ross, First Link Care Navigator, ASHPE; Angela Meraw, Executive Director, ASHPE; Nicole Valade, Director of Critical Care, Emergency, Community and Rural Services, Quinte Health; and Bette-Anne Smith, Administrative Assistant, Quinte Health.