The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) met with community members Wednesday in Spryfield to discuss health care. In particular, to explain collaborative care practices and the direction the province is heading in.
“The traditional model is that you have a doctor and you have a patient,” said Dr. Maria Alexiadis, Head of Family Practice for NSHA’s central zone.
“The collaborative care teams look at providing a host of services within your health home. So, you may have a doctor, you may have a nurse, you may eventually have a social worker or a dietitian involved. So you go to the office and you get the care that you need for the reason you went there.”
Alexiadis has been a physician for nearly three decades. She says the collaborative care concept isn’t new and has been studied both in Canada and internationally.
There are currently 50 collaborative family practice teams in Nova Scotia.
“Now that we have funding in the last few years, we have started. And so this year, we’re even having more teams that we’re starting so that’s exciting,” said Alexiadis.
Graeme Kohler, the Director of Primary Health Care & Chronic Disease Management with the NSHA says it’s hoped the new model will help with the doctor shortage in the province.
“It’s our hope that as we build more and more collaborative care family practice teams, it will help with recruitment and retention team efforts for physicians within the province because we believe this is what many of them are asking for,” he said.
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Pauline MacDonald lives in the Spryfield area and came out to learn more about the collaborative care model. She believes it lessens the strain on physicians.
“I think a lot of our physicians are overwhelmed. Right now, they’re the sole gateway to the whole health care system and it slows things down,” said MacDonald.
“If I go in with a kink in my neck, I have to go to my physician, get an appointment there, they have to refer me to physio, then I have to make another appointment and go. Whereas with a collaborative practice, we’re all together and you get the right person for the right complaints.”
Similar community sessions will take place across the province in the coming months. You can find more information and the location of the upcoming sessions here.