This two-year study developed and field-tested a model of service delivery to integrate home care and community mental health services for seniors experiencing dementia or depression, the most common mental disorders among seniors. The main objectives were earlier assessment, care planning, and appropriate intervention. Planning of the model was cautious in order to allow key home care and mental health workers a chance to become comfortable with objectives. Once launched, the project undertook to increase the confidence and competence of front-line staff with workshops (for home care workers) and intense training on seniors’ health (for mental health personnel). Researchers developed a “screening tool flow chart” for identifying early signs of illness during home visits and a multidisciplinary diagnostic protocol for client and caregiver assessments. The project improved the accessibility of mental health expertise for home care staff; challenges included staff retention and gaining support from family physicians.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.