It’s wonderful to be able to spend time with each resident. Connecting with residents gives family physicians a better understanding of patients’ preferences towards care.
Dr. Barry Clarke
Connecting seniors with family doctors
Nova Scotia seniors now have a better chance of seeing the same doctor in their care facilities, thanks to the innovation of a concerned family doctor. Dr. Barry Clarke is passionate about improving care for residents in long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia. He has designed a program that allows a deeper relationship between the patient and physician.
The program, Care by Design, coordinates the management of care on each floor of 19 different long-term care facilities in the province. Care by Design is about bringing care providers – whether that is a physician or paramedic to patients in their home or at long-term care facilities. “This saves unnecessary visits to the emergency room that can sometimes lead to extended stays in hospital,” said Dr. Clarke.
Under this program, family physicians are assigned to a long-term care facility and provide continuing care to residents in tandem with the care providers in that facility. Residents receive weekly scheduled visits from a physician assigned to their floor, and through an on-call system, have access to urgent care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It’s wonderful to be able to spend time with each resident,” said Dr. Clarke. “Connecting with residents gives family physicians a better understanding of patients’ preferences towards care.”
Dr. Clarke has partnered with Emergency Health Services to develop the Extended Care Paramedic Program (ECP), an award-winning feature of Care by Design. “We even have our own extended care paramedic vehicle,” said Dr. Clarke. “The paramedics are hand-picked and trained with new skills. When there’s a 911 call we can now use the ECP and avoid having to transfer residents to a hospital.” This allows family physicians to be supported by specially-trained paramedics who can assess and treat small injuries on-site.
Dr. Clarke’s Care by Design program has been well-received and is being considered in other heath districts across Nova Scotia and other parts of the country. Dr. Clarke’s leadership in connecting seniors with family doctors is another example of Nova Scotia’s doctors innovating for patients.