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LHIN funds 'memory clinics' for dementia patients

The North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has provided funding for five communities to open what it calls memory clinics. The clinics provide multidisciplinary support for dementia patients.
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According to the Ontario Association for Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors nearly 60 per cent of Ontario's 77,000 long-term care residents have dementia. File photo.
The North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has provided funding for five communities to open what it calls memory clinics.

The clinics provide multidisciplinary support for dementia patients.

So far, the North East LHIN has established clinics in Powassan, Iroquois Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, Parry Sound and North Bay.

A Sudbury clinic is in the works for 2015, but the LHIN has not yet confirmed a launch date.

“Across our LHIN where we have almost one in every five people already 65, it’s essential for providers to co-ordinate care to support aging and health-related conditions,” said North East LHIN CEO Louise Paquette, in a press release. “These new memory clinics offer quality care options for Northerners.”

Around 35 per cent of people over the age of 85 have dementia, said Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, who is one of two geriatricians based in northeastern Ontario.

“We have strong risk factors for dementia in the northeast,” she said in a press release. “We have a higher incidence of hypertension, diabetes, and of course, many members of our population are in the 65-plus age group.”

To visit a memory clinic a patient needs a referral form their family doctor. A team then assesses them with a cognitive test, and by corroborating information from family members.

Once a patient is accepted the clinic's team develops a holistic treatment plan.

“This involves getting supports in place to keep the person out of a hospital’s emergency department, or hospital bed, and keep them in the community a little longer,” said Dr. Linda Lee, a memory clinic trainer, said in a press release. “We’re trying to leverage primary care to build capacity.”