from the proposal stage and helped ustranslate it from proposal to practice,”says Navjot Virk, project manager forthe Dementia Friendly Communityproject in southern Alberta.
Project partners also includeAlberta Innovates, AHS, AlbertaSeniors & Housing and the BrendaStrafford Foundation, for which Virkis the research and innovative practicecoordinator.
“The number of people 65 years or
older is now higher than the number
of children 14 years and under. A large
number of [older] people will experience
some form of dementia,” she says. “We
need to come up with better ways to
support people so they’re not solely
The project is applying a global
approach to community outreach for
people with dementia to two Alberta
communities: the town of Okotoks
and the communities of Signal Hill,
Strathcona and Christie Park in Calgary.
Alberta Innovates’ insight has helped
Virk and her team connect with experts
elsewhere in Canada, as well as structure
project committees and develop a way
to evaluate the success of the project. In
short, Virk says, Alberta Innovates has
propelled the project forward.
In the first year, several communitiesasked to join the project. This is greatnews, says Virk, as the project’s ultimategoal is to create a toolkit to help Albertacommunities adopt the program andlearn about dementia.
Many Alberta Innovates projects have
a community focus. In Camrose, the local
primary care network is researching
technology that people with chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease can use
at home to improve their health. For
example, Colleen McKinstry, the project’s
clinical director, says patients take home
digital technology synced to devices that
measure their blood pressure and blood
oxygen levels. The data is then sent to
their local primary care network.
“In real time, we get the results backthrough a program that is similar to anelectronic medical record,” she says. Thisallows a patient’s healthcare team to actquickly if help is needed.
McKinstry says Alberta Innovates hasbeen part of the project since its start,supporting and connecting the team toindustry partners, such as BoehringerIngelheim and General Electric. AlbertaInnovates will also help support theevaluation of this project to gauge itsvalue to patients and the healthcaresystem. McKinstry hopes the projectwill succeed in Camrose and expand toother parts of Alberta: “We want it to bestandard practice for patients.” |a
The project’s ultimate
goal is to create a
toolkit to help Alberta