Providing the best possible care to elderly people in residential care facilities presents a variety of challenges. Enabling good communication and consistent care between health care providers is key—continuity of care is vital to maintaining the health of these vulnerable patients. When doctors in Prince George set out to find solutions for the residential care challenges facing their community, they chose to address responsive continuity of care first, before moving on to solve issues relating to polypharmacy and emergency room transfers.
Fostering Continuity of Care
Staff at Prince George’s six residential care facilities had been finding it difficult to arrange for physicians to visit —a problem faced by care facilities in other communities around the province. At the same time, the number of patients taking multiple medications (polypharmacy) was on the rise, along with the number of facility residents being transferred to the emergency department for medical care.
Efforts to improve care in residential facilities began in 2010, one year after the 2009 establishment of the Prince George Division of Family Practice. “Our first goal was to increase physician presence at residential facilities,” says Dr Ian Schokking, Residential Care Lead for the Prince George Division. To address the growing need for round-the-clock access to on-site care in facilities, the Residential Care Call Group was created —a group of interested physicians available to provide care 24 hours a day.