The province has launched a new, five-year framework to guide planning and investments to further address dementia in Manitoba, Health Minister Erin Selby announced today.
“A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia can have a profound effect on not only the individual, but their family, friends and caregivers as well,” said Minister Selby. “This new framework will serve as a roadmap to guide health-system planning and investment over the next five years to improve care and support for Manitobans with dementia, as well as support their families and caregivers.”
Manitoba’s Framework for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementiaswas developed in consultation with the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba (ASM) and incorporates feedback from individuals, caregivers and medical professionals across Manitoba. The framework outlines recommendations in five key areas:
raising awareness and understanding;
early recognition, initial assessment and diagnosis;
management, care and support;
end-of-life care; and
research and evaluation.
The minister noted the new framework complements the recently released provincial strategy Advancing Continuing Care – A Blueprint to Support System Change, which outlines areas for action to help meet the growing demand for services for those receiving care in the community or in long-term care, as well as supporting caregivers.
Minister Selby said action will be undertaken on a number of priority areas outlined in the framework as an initial step including:
continuing efforts to enhance access to primary care for all Manitobans to ensure timely assessment and diagnosis;
taking steps to recruit and retain additional geriatricians, neurologists with an interest in dementia and geriatric psychiatrists to Manitoba;
pursuing enhanced dementia and cognitive impairment education in health-care provider education programs;
promoting family/caregiver involvement in care planning discussions and decisions;
enhancing the delivery of dementia education for health-care providers along the continuum of care;
reviewing personal care home standards related to requirements for dementia education; and
working with partners to develop a co-ordinated approach to dementia research in Manitoba.
“We are very pleased that Manitoba’s Framework for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias will address many issues currently faced by individuals and families impacted by this disease,” said Wendy Schettler, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. “We are looking forward to the actions that will result from this framework.”
The minister noted the framework builds on recent investments made to provide information, education and supports to people and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. The province has provided more than $630,000 over three years to the ASM to support the delivery of the First Link program.
She noted the successful program links individuals and families with services and support as soon as possible after diagnosis. Formal referral by physicians and health professionals allows for proactive support from ASM to help the family better cope with its situation. Between April 2012 and March 2014, more than 700 referrals were made to the program.
Currently, nearly 20,000 Manitobans have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Last year, there were more than 4,500 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias in Manitoba.