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Dementia Assessment Unit at WRC - Improving dementia care for patients in the Region


More work is being done in the Region to support a growing demographic – those living with dementia.

 Dementia Assessment Unit, WRC Unit 3-6
Drawing of the five-bed Dementia Assessment Unit, WRC Unit 3-6

“I’m excited about the increased focus on seniors and dementia clients, and our goal is to enhance care for dementia patients,” said Debbie Sinnett, Executive Director of Long Term Care. On March 31, the Region will be opening a five-bed Dementia Assessment Unit – paid for by the Ministry of Health – serving clients in southern Saskatchewan with behaviours that require more focused care.

In addition to the assessment unit, outreach support will be provided by a Resource team, to assist care providers, families and other support persons in meeting the care and safety needs of the clients in their home community.

“Because the team will be working in the community, it is a real opportunity to build collaborative relationships throughout the southern part of the province,” said Tammy
Thompson, Manager of Wascana Nursing Units.

This team’s role is to support care within the current home environment, ensuring all
resources, program supports and care approaches are implemented prior to proceeding with an admission to the assessment unit or transfer to a more institutional and clinical setting.

“Clients with high risk responsive behaviours related to dementia will first be supported in their homes, with initial assessments and care recommendations,” Jean Nelson, Project Manager explains. “The Resource Support team will work collaboratively with clients and their care teams through a variety of mediums, including site visits, teleconferencing and telehealth or video-conferencing.”

If the client’s needs require more attention, a highly-specialized, five-bed unit at Wascana Rehabilitation Center, Unit 3-6, is the next step.

“The unit is not meant to be a long-term care option, but more to stabilize the needs of some dementia patients until they can be discharged,” Sinnett explained.

Patients admitted will receive medical, psychiatric, pharmacological, behavioural, functional, social, recreational and cognitive assessments to find the underlying cause of the behaviour. This is where a care plan to reduce the needs will be formed and most patients should be able to return home within 30 to 90 days.

The unit was designed with involvement of family members of individuals with dementia, RQHR health providers, the Alzheimer’s Society and many other content experts. A client-centred care environment that is warm and inviting is what was developed. It supports opportunities for activities, interaction and walking paths in a homelike setting, key components in a dementia care living environment.

“The desired future state is to have a coordinated dementia care pathway across our five regions to meet client needs, focusing on supporting care in place, with outreach resource support, comprehensive assessment and utilizing best practices