debbie tinkness is healing with support from
her primary Care network. Since october
2013, tinkness has worked closely with the
highland pCn in airdrie as she strives to
overcome depression and obesity; and to
recover from surgery on both of her knees
because of painful demobilizing arthritis.
It has been hard work for the 56-year-old—
but she’s equal to the task. and she is grateful
to her pCn, in particular her family doctor,
dr. luba Kazatchenko.
pCns across alberta feature health
professionals working in doctors’ clinics
offering specialized services to patients,
including help with chronic illnesses.
teams include doctors and other
health-care providers, depending on
patients’ needs. tinkness’s team consists
of a family doctor, registered nurse,
kinesiologist, pharmacist, social worker
and behavioural health consultant.
tinkness describes her pCn team as personal
and non-judgmental. She credits them
for creating the caring environment that
has helped her make lifestyle changes to
lose substantial weight, improve her self-confidence and lift her depression.
“the Pcn made me realize that
there was no quick fix,” says
tinkness. “ i needed to make
life changes over the long
tinkness is grateful she doesn’t have to continually
repeat her evolving story, because the pCn staff
all work in one clinic. Registered nurse laura
o’hara says having the pCn under one roof offers
more consistent and immediate care.
o’hara works closely with Kazatchenko. She
has ready access to tinkness’s charts and has
scheduled and impromptu conversations with the
doctor about medications and other decisions.
they keep tinkness’s pharmacist in the loop in
real time. o’hara can discuss tinkness’s exercise
progress with the kinesiologist and her nutrition
and lifestyle goals with the behavioural health
consultant. a social worker on site provides
tinkness quick access to community resources.
“We work together on preventive health care,
catching issues as they arise through screening
and regular checkups, and by educating and
empowering our patients to take achievable steps
to stay healthy,” o’hara says. “In debbie’s case, we
explore barriers that get in the way of achieving
her goals and set her up for success by giving her
strategies to tackle them.”
o’hara says the team had “big success” with
tinkness. “She keeps progressing and feels proud
of herself for achieving her goals. It’s so awesome
to see.” For tinkness, the support is invaluable.
“For someone who has never had a support
system, the pCn has been a major boost,” she
says. “I know they are with me every step of the
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Patient on path
to success with
team creates a caring
environment for change