Fraser Health is rolling out a new pilot program to help those suffering with early-stage dementia.
The pilot, announced Tuesday, aims to diagnose and treat patients faster, and get them access to community resources faster, through a new inter-professional guide and a mentoring program between care providers and doctors.
The pilot will operate in Surrey, North Delta, White Rock and Langley, with a focus on the South Asian community and presentations in Surrey temples, gurdwaras and community centres.
More than 20,000 people south of the Fraser River have dementia, according to Fraser Health, and that number is expected to jump by 70 per cent over the next 10 years.
“By strengthening partnerships between physicians and other health care providers, we hope that diagnoses and treatments for people living with dementia, as well as support for their families, will be more robust and will happen more quickly and efficiently,” said Doctors of BC president Dr. Trina Larsen Soles.
Added program co-lead Dr. Leena Jain: “It is important to provide patient-centred education about dementia in a culturally-sensitive way that addresses any potential misconceptions and barriers.”
Alongside the Alzheimer Society of B.C., the health authority will also hire an additional one-year Punjabi-speaking South Asian support and education coordinator for their existing dementia helpline.