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Primary Care-Based Memory Clinics: Expanding Capacity for Dementia Care

Linda Lee, Loretta M Hillier, George Heckman, Micheline Gagnon, Michael J Borrie, Paul Stolee, David Harvey
Canadian Journal on Aging 2014, 33 (3): 307-19
The implementation in Ontario of 15 primary-care-based interprofessional memory clinics represented a unique model of team-based case management aimed at increasing capacity for dementia care at the primary-care level. Each clinic tracked referrals; in a subset of clinics, charts were audited by geriatricians, clinic members were interviewed, and patients, caregivers, and referring physicians completed satisfaction surveys. Across all clinics, 582 patients were assessed, and 8.9 per cent were referred to a specialist. Patients and caregivers were very satisfied with the care received, as were referring family physicians, who reported increased capacity to manage dementia. Geriatricians' chart audits revealed a high level of agreement with diagnosis and management. This study demonstrated acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary effectiveness of the primary-care memory clinic model. Led by specially trained family physicians, it provided timely access to high-quality collaborative dementia care, impacting health service utilization by more-efficient use of scarce geriatric specialist resources.


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