October 24, 2016, by Pat Morden, Caregiver Exchange
You and your wife go to the family doctor about a health concern, and come away with a referral to a specialist. But then the days go past, and no call comes. Meanwhile, you want to find services to help her manage her condition.
“It’s a struggle knowing what’s out there, and understanding the next step in the referral process,” says Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, a family physician and Director of the eHealth Centre of Excellence in Waterloo. “Caregivers are providing the majority of care, but they don’t always have the support they need to know what’s available.”
Part of the answer lies in information technology, Alarakhia believes. He and his team are developing a web portal that will enable patients and caregivers to check the status of referrals and receive emails when the appointments are made, including instructions and reminders. In addition, the portal will give easy access to information about relevant self-management options (such as gentle exercise or adult day programs), and enable caregivers to register online. The new service is being developed for the Waterloo Wellington LHIN, but if all goes well, it will expand across Ontario.
Alarakhia wants caregivers to be part of designing the new portal. If you’d like to provide input and feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, he suggests that caregivers check out directories like caregiverexchange.ca and thehealthline.ca to find information about self-management programs and services.