Greetings from Saskatoon!
We continue to have a cohort of four geriatric psychiatrists in the Saskatoon Health Region and now have three geriatric psychiatrists in Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. At both sites we are continuing to expand our clinical geriatric services. Over the past year the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has provided funding to create a specialized four-bed dementia unit in Saskatoon and Regina, which will each serve the Northern and Southern parts of the province respectively. The intent of these units was to serve as a provincial resource to assist with providing appropriate quality care to individuals with extremely difficult behaviours, who are not currently being managed properly. Dr. Marie-France Rivard visited Saskatoon and Regina in October of 2015, as well as other parts of the province, to meet with key stakeholders and assist in strategic planning for the development of new mental health resources for older adults.
In Saskatoon, we are continuing to collaborate with the Seniors’ Health and Continuing Care Behaviour Support Team and Mental Health and Addictions Services seniors’ program, Community Mental Health Nurses (CMHN), to form the Seniors’ Mental Health Outreach Team. Members of our team continue to collaborate with Home Care to provide geriatric psychiatry services within the community through a pilot project called “Home First.” The project’s goal is to keep seniors in their homes longer with enhanced services from Home Care, which includes support from the seniors’ program Community Mental Health Nurses and a geriatric psychiatrist.
As we are well below benchmarks for the recommended composition of a geriatric mental health team, we will continue to advocate for increased recruitment of geriatric psychiatrists and increases in staffing for the outreach team with nurses and social work.
Submitted by: Dr. Marla Davidson