#ResearchAtHorizon: Finding ways to detect and diagnose dementia sooner
Continued success for Horizon’s events raising awareness about viral hepatitis
Again this year, Horizon’s Public Health teams joined forces with other health care professionals and local volunteers in Saint John, Fredericton and Miramichi to organize free community barbecues in recognition of World Hepatitis Day, July 28. July’s sunny weather brought several area residents to come together to enjoy food and games, learn about viral hepatitis, and seek testing. Viral hepatitis is spread through contact with contaminated blood and bodily fluids and can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and cancer. Viral hepatitis affects more than half a million Canadians, and it is the most common reportable blood-borne infection In New Brunswick. World Hepatitis Day was a perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements made to treat and hopefully eliminate hepatitis. Many people with hepatitis are unaware they have the disease and that is why it is important to increase testing to decrease the number of individuals living with undiagnosed viral hepatitis. Horizon thanks its many community partners that made this year’s events so popular.
Health & Aging program at Horizon’s St. Joseph’s Hospital in uptown Saint John. There, Dr. Pamela Jarrett, a geriatrician, along with her geriatrician colleagues are working
Detecting and diagnosing Alzheimer’s and other dementias as early as possible means those living with dementia and their families can benefit from the most up-to-date treatment and management strategies. The options for treatment of this disease and strategies to help prevent progression are always changing and being on the forefront of the best possible care for dementia is important for everyone. The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia study (COMPASS-ND) is the largest-ever Canadian study on dementia. The study is sponsored through an $8.4 million federal research grant through the Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration and Aging (CCNA). Through the COMPASS-ND research study, investigators hope to learn more about who is at risk of developing dementia, how clinicians can detect it sooner, and which tests will help them do this. With more than 30 sites across Canada planned for recruitment, Horizon is home to one of the two only sites east of Québec. Like most geriatric medicine research here at Horizon, the study is being managed by the As part of the Waste Walk Challenge, Shauna Leaman, Registered Nurse at Horizon’s Fredericton Public Health office, found a way to reduce wait times for patients by improving the process for rebooking immunizations. Patients are booked into a 30-minute time slot that includes a mandatory 15-minute wait before leaving the office after their immunization. The previous immunization booking process involved the nurse walking the patient out and waiting in line with them after their immunization to book their next appointment with the administrative assistant. The step of the nurse waiting in line has been eliminated. The patient is now given an appointment slip to bring to the administrative assistant to book their next appointment on their own during their 15-minute wait. Eliminating this step allows clients to receive their full appointment time to discuss questions and concerns. It also allows nurses to have more time to prepare for their next client which ensures they are being seen on time. “The new process is so simple, but much more efficient,” said Shauna. “Clients, especially those with young children, now
with the research coordinators Linda
Yetman, RN PhD and Louise Grant, RN BScN, to recruit individuals who are experiencing a range
Horizon’s health professionals attended the event in Saint John to offer on-site hepatitis C testing.
Steve Colwell of AIDS NB serves up a hot dog to a community member in Miramichi.
of memory of thinking impairments, from mild cognitive impairment to various types of dementia, to participate in the study. “It is a privilege to be part of this national research study here in Saint John and very fortunate to be at the leading edge of this work,” said Dr. Jarrett. “We are most appreciative of the time and commitment that many people have given to make this research possible. Their commitment to this research will help guide the future for others with memory problems so that we, as health care providers, can continue to improve how we provide care every day.”
Louise Grant (left) reviews one of the neuropsychological tests used in the COMPASS-ND study, with Linda Yetman.
Leaving no stone unturned as to a potential tool for detecting early changes, COMPASS-ND asks participants to take part in a comprehensive program of data capture: neuropsychological tests, brain imaging, blood tests, and biological samples for genetic analysis, to name a few. Participants return at a later time to repeat the measurements, with the hopes that any and all changes in an individual’s thinking, memory, social activity, and physical health, can be identified. What about the loved ones who provide care? While it is important to improve our ability to detect dementia earlier than we currently can, it is equally important to help those who are now becoming caregivers for their loved ones. Dr. Linda Yetman is interviewing caregivers of individuals with dementia from the COMPASS- ND study to better understand the experiences of caregivers so that we can help find or develop meaningful supports and help to alleviate the stress, uncertainty and challenges experienced by caregivers. Linda found a number of themes in her conversations with caregivers, including the impact of feeling stigmatized by a diagnosis of dementia, coping with the loss and grief they anticipate is coming, coping with feelings of obligation and resentment, and the challenges of trying to maintain a normal life and maintain the personhood of the individual with dementia. Findings from the study will be presented at upcoming conferences. With a senior population growing faster than the rest of Canadian provinces, New Brunswick is fortunate to be home to nationally recognized, leading expertise in aging and healthcare for our seniors. To learn more about the work of the Health & Aging Research Program, visit our website. The COMPASS-ND study is continuing to look for participants at Horizon’s St. Joseph’s Hospital. To learn more, contact Louise Grant at 506-632-5777.
Horizon’s Public Health nurses Nancy Gesner and Tiffany Trecartin offer healthy snack options at the Saint John event.
An event kiosk in downtown Fredericton.
Waste Walk reduces wait times at Horizon’s Fredericton Public Health office
Dietetic students bring energy, ideas and perspective to Horizon Every year, dietetic students from University of Moncton join Horizon for the 10-month internship,
Students receive mentorship and practical experience from managers and directors who have played a leading role in fostering the Internship Program within Horizon in the field of dietetics. In turn, the students bring energy, new ideas and a fresh perspective to our departments. “Mentoring dietetic students has promoted cooperation and job satisfaction within the Clinical Nutrition department and with other departments such as Nutrition and Food
Services,” said Connie Coffin, manager, Clinical Nutrition, Saint John area. “It has also helped us with succession planning as some of our students later become our employees. It is a great way to give back to our profession!” The interns graduated with their Bachelor of Science with a Major in Nutrition on June 21 and are now eligible to write their national exam to become Registered Dietitians.
which begins in the fall and ends in June. This year, six dietetic interns completed their internships with Horizon — three in Saint John, two in Fredericton and one in Miramichi. Registered Dietitians across various areas of Horizon take time above and beyond their normal work schedules to mentor these future dietitians and help shape the future of the profession.
feel less rushed leaving the office after their immunization knowing they can book their next appointment on their own time. The nurse has more time to prepare for the next patient, reducing wait times. It’s a win-win!”
Shauna Leaman, Registered Nurse, photographed in her office at Fredericton Public Health.
During their internship, dietetic students are mentored by Horizon staff. Back row, from left: Connie Coffin, Clinical Dietitian, Saint John; Jill Robillard, Manager, Clinical Nutrition, Saint John; Heather Godfrey, Manager, Clinical Nutrition, Fredericton; Esther Archibald, Director of Food Services, Fredericton; Jacqueline Noseworthy, Manager, Clinical Nutrition Miramichi; and Darin Quinn, Director of Therapeutic Services, Fredericton. Front row, from left: Candidate dietitians Patrick Gauthier; Andréanne Marcotte; Jasmine LeBlanc; Katelyn Murray; Roxanne Rossignol; and Maxime Pelletier.
The new immunization booking process saves a total of 105 hours of wait time annually.
Candidate dietitians form a “Horizon Star.” Clockwise, starting front row centre are: Roxanne Rossignol; Andréanne Marcotte; Maxime Pelletier; Jasmine LeBlanc; Patrick Gauthier; and Katelyn Murray.
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