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Memory clinics opening in Victoria, Nanaimo aim to improve assessment and care

Team of medical workers will support those facing cognitive problems, dementia
The province on Tuesday announced that new clinics in Victoria and Nanaimo will aim to better support people with memory loss and those concerned about cognitive changes. (Black Press Media File photo)

The province on Tuesday announced that two new clinics in Victoria and Nanaimo will aim to better support people with memory loss.

Leah Hollins, Island Health’s board chair, said memory loss among seniors will continue to rise as the population ages and the two clinics will offer faster access to early assessment and care planning. She said the clinics will help seniors avoid lengthy or unnecessary wait times to see a specialist, experience fewer emergency room visits and have more independence at home.

The clinics will include a team of family physicians, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists, along with backup support from specialists if necessary, a news release stated.

Referrals to the memory clinics will be done by primary care providers. The Victoria clinic will operate two days a week beginning on Sept. 21 from its temporary location at the Downtown Victoria Urgent Care and Primary Care Centre, while the Nanaimo site will open Sept. 23 before operating once a week out of the Nanaimo Health Unit.

Proper access to assessment and treatment can improve cognitive problems and delay dementia, Health Minister Adrian Dix said in the release.

“This is why it is so important to ensure the availability of early diagnosis and ongoing treatment and support,” he said.

Ontario-based MINT Memory Clinics, which provides dementia care at more than 110 sites in that province, received funding from the Canadian Frailty Network to train others, such as Island Health, to implement their model.

“The MINT model of care has demonstrated significant reductions in assessment wait times as compared to waits for specialist referrals, extended time at home prior to requesting long-term care placements, and fewer and shortened emergency department visits in addition to other benefits,” said Dr. Marilyn Malone, medical director of seniors’ health at Island Health.

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