The Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) brings together a diverse group of stakeholders – clinicians, researchers, patients, families, and decision makers – to focus on reshaping and improving health care services and practices that enable seniors to optimize their health, well-being and independence.
Today, one in nine Albertans are over the age of 65 increasing to one in five over the next two decades. The aging population creates both challenges and opportunities for the health care system. The Seniors Health SCN is working on the most effective ways to meet the health care needs of Alberta’s seniors.
Alberta seniors currently visit emergency departments at twice the rate of non-seniors and are admitted from there to an inpatient unit at five times the rate of non-seniors. Lengths of stay also increase dramatically with age.
Although seniors have an impact on the health system, the system, if done right, could have a positive impact the health of seniors by improving their quality of life. The Seniors Health SCN will focus on improving quality of care and quality of life based on evidence and best practices within Alberta and around the world.
Priorities and projects
Over the long term, the two major priorities for the SCN will be Aging Brain Care and Healthy Aging and Seniors Care.
To address Aging Brain Care, the core committee has begun to plan a care pathway, or guide, to help seniors, families and care providers dealing with cognitive impairment and dementia – from healthy living strategies to end-of-life care.
The first project within Aging Brain Care will be the ensuring the appropriate use of medications for the management of challenging behaviours and other mental health symptoms in long term care facilities. Together SCN members and stakeholders will identify clinical guidelines provincially for the use of the medications and other approaches to enhance the care of residents.
The first project within the Healthy Aging and Seniors Care priority will be implementing the principles of “elder-friendly care” that are emerging in research and practice across Canada. The goal will be to improve upon the patient-centred, quality care provided to seniors and their families in acute care hospitals. This project will focus on three main strategies: identifying and reducing the occurrence of delirium (acute confusion), increasing patient mobility and implementing provincial guidelines for the appropriate use of catheters. This project builds on elder-friendly care initiatives already underway in some Alberta hospitals including the successful work being done by the Bone and Joint Health SCN on delirium screening for hip fracture patients.
The Seniors Health SCN is pleased to welcome Dr. Jayna Holroyd-Leduc to the team as Scientific Director.
Dr. Holroyd-Leduc is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. She received her medical degree and completed residency training in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the University of Toronto. She completed a research fellowship through the VA Quality Scholar program at UCSF. Her research interests include knowledge translation and improving care provided to older patients. She is Quality Improvement Lead for Medicine within the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services, Calgary Zone.
The SCN is also pleased that Mollie Cole has recently joined the SCN leadership team as Manager Seniors Health SCN. Most recently Mollie was Clinical Specialist – Older Patient at the new South Health Campus. As an Advanced Practice Nurse since 1990, Mollie brings with her an excellent set of skills and knowledge, including an understanding of the clinical issues impacting older adults across the care continuum and extensive teaching experience. She has a particular interest in the issues related to cognitive impairment focusing on dementia and delirium.
How to get involved
If you are a patient or family member interested in getting involved contact Patient Engagement to learn more.
If you are interested in becoming involved with the Seniors Health SCN contact Dennis Cleaver via email: