New Team in the Emergency Department Supports Patients with Dementia

Published On: February 20, 2024

The Emergency Department (ED) at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) has added an additional level of support for patients with dementia as well as their family caregivers.

The Integrated Dementia Resource Team collaborates with hospital staff to support patients in the Emergency Department, provide reassurance, and help to make their visit less stressful. They assist in supporting the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and bring extensive knowledge of local community resources.

The team also supports families and caregivers by ensuring they are involved in the patient’s care, as well as providing support and education.

The program, an outcome of a strategic collaboration with the Alzheimer Society Southwest Partners in Elgin County and Home and Community Support Services, consists of three highly skilled social workers – Brittan, Jackie and Andrea. The team is available to patients and their families in the ED Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

“Our Emergency Department sees 160 to 190 patients each day,” says Craig Watkin, Vice President, Patient Services & Chief Nursing Executive at STEGH. “Many of these patients represent the elderly population – and those at greatest risk of developing Dementia. The addition of the Dementia Resource Team in our ED will help to reduce admissions of people living with dementia in our community.”

This initiative, which initially began in Brantford as an initiative of the Brantford Brant Norfolk Ontario Health Team, has garnered widespread acclaim across the region, and serves as a standout illustration of the impactful outcomes achievable through enhanced cooperation among community organizations within our local health system.