Coordinated, patient-centred dementia care that’s closer to home
“It’s not what we expected our retirement years would be like,” says Vivienne, who lives in the Kitchener-area with her husband Ben. Vivienne and Ben met at Expo ’67 in Montreal and have been caring for one another for over 50 years. Recently, the couple has faced a new care challenge, one that is increasingly familiar to many Canadians: a dementia diagnosis.
After meeting with their family physician, Vivienne and Ben were referred to their local MINT Memory Clinic, where they met with a team of care providers including a doctor, a nurse, a social worker and dietician, who provided an assessment and care plan, and connected them with the Alzheimer’s Society and other resources. With a circle of support, Vivienne and Ben no longer had to navigate the system on their own.
MINT Memory Clinics, an approach developed by DFM Associate Clinical Professor Linda Lee, disrupt the current dementia care by integrating primary care providers with specialists and community services and, for the first time, provide access to high-quality dementia care within a local doctor’s office.
The innovative model trains primary care teams through a nationally accredited dementia care program. The teams collaborate with geriatricians, geriatric psychiatrists and cognitive neurologists using virtual consult and partnering with local community agencies.
With a 90% adoption rate, the MINT Memory Clinic model has proven to be highly scalable—having already established 110 clinics, many of them in rural and remote communities.
MINT Memory Clinics build capacity in primary care to manage 90% of dementia cases so that just 10% are referred to specialists, compared to 100% in typical practices. This has helped reduce wait times for dementia care by 50%. By providing earlier access to assessment and care, the clinics are also averting crisis events that lead to hospitalization and early transition to long-term care.
For couples like Ben and Vivienne, this means they can worry less about navigating the healthcare system and focus more on their life together at home, knowing they have dementia care support just down the road.
Learn more about MINT Memory Clinics at www.mintmemory.ca