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Partnerships for improving dementia care in primary care: Extending access to primary care‐based memory clinics in Ontario, Canada

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In Ontario, Canada, the Primary Care Collaborative Memory Clinic (PCCMC) model of dementia care provides a team‐based assessment and management service that has demonstrated increased capacity for dementia care at the primary care level. PCCMCs are established following completion of a multi‐faceted memory clinic training programme. Evidence of the success of this care model has been demonstrated primarily in practice settings with integrated interprofessional healthcare providers (HCPs). Desire to implement PCCMCs in less‐resourced family practice settings without integrated interprofessional HCPs has resulted in partnerships with community agencies and services to create the multifaceted teams needed for this care model. The purpose of this study was to describe the key lessons learned in the development and implementation of 18 PCCMCs in primary care practice models without integrated interprofessional HCPs. Mixed methods included tracking of clinic referrals, pre‐ (N = 122) and post‐ (N = 71) training surveys to assess practice changes and factors facilitating and challenging clinic implementation. Interviews were conducted with 40 team members to identify key lessons learned. Key enablers were access to training, organisational/ management and care provider support, availability of infrastructure supports and clinic coordination. Data were collected between January 2012 and January 2017. PCCMCs were challenged by a lack of sustainable funding, inadequate infrastructure support, competing priorities, maintaining adequate communication among team members, and coordinating multiple schedules. Suggestions to support longer term sustainability were identified, many addressing identified challenges such as securing sustainable funding, and ensuring partners understand the importance of their role and succession planning. This study demonstrated that by establishing community partnerships and leveraging existing community resources, the PCCMC model is generalisable to multiple family practice settings including those without integrated interprofessional staff. Lessons learned can inform the development of interventions for complex chronic conditions requiring interprofessional support in primary care.
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Keywords: dementia; interprofessional teams; memory clinics; partnerships; primary care

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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