The Alzheimer Society is seeking an expansion of programs it says help keep Alzheimer patients out of hospital emergency rooms.
Director of Government Relations and Public Policy of Kyle Fitzgerald spoke to members of the province’s finance committee earlier this week.
He says one program in northeastern Ontario provides support care to patients two weeks before and two weeks after entering a long term to help them adjust.
“Of that population, we’d expect 35% to be hospitalized within six months of the move into long-term care. It is a deeply stressful and traumatic experience. What we saw in the northeast was zero people. Out of the approximately 500 who have been supported by this program, none of them have been hospitalized within six months of moving into long-term care,” says Fitzgerald.
He says the program avoided 175 hospital visits of those expected to be hospitalized.
The other program the Society is seeking support is for its First Link initiative.
It is currently funded to reduce hospital visits by a third per client.
“With our budget ask of $3.26 million, we would avoid an estimated 1,012 hospital visits, 405 hospital admissions, and $4.89 million in associated costs—a net return on this investment of $1.63 million, without even considering delayed long-term-care admission and improved quality of life.”
A third program the Society would like to expand upon is being tried in three areas in southern Ontario.
Society staff work with hospital staff in a hospital’s emergency department.
“This program was able to achieve a diversion rate of 62.7%. So of the roughly four in 10 people with dementia who would be admitted to hospital following a visit to the emergency department, we avoided 63% of those admissions.
Fitzgerald says expanding the program province-wide would avoid an estimated $30.22 million in hospital costs.