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New chronic disease program launches in Orillia

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The Couchiching Ontario Health team launched a new chronic disease program on Monday, making accessing care easier for patients with chronic conditions.

Staff say the goal is to have an integrated system of care for patients, caregivers and healthcare providers across the region.

“We’ve opted to go with a kind of hub model. So, we’re kind of developing this chronic disease management through one central hub, so all of our providers will be under one roof, and we’ll be bringing in additional providers and community partners as needed for each patient,” said Thomas Jilek, Chronic Disease Program Hub Manager.

The program is focused on those experiencing congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“We did release our referral form a little over a week ago, so we already have a number of patients lined up for this week for COPD, and our pulmonary rehab program and Specialist COPD clinic are due to start in July,” said Jilek.

Medical staff say it will help ease the strain on emergency rooms.

“Right now, the challenge is one individual might identify an issue, for example, the primary care physician or the paramedic. And if they’re not integrated back into the rest of the team, they may or may not be able to keep the patient out of emerge, improve their symptoms, those sorts of things,” says Heart Function Program Medical Director John MacFadyen.

Aside from the patient, the new program also focuses on supporting families and caregivers.

“When you have a chronic disease or a traumatic something that happens traumatically, all of a sudden, the whole family is thrust into chaos. And the incident didn’t just happen to the patient. It happened to the caregiver, too. It happened to the partner. So we have to get good, solid outcomes. We need to keep all of us healthy,” said Patient Family Advisory Council Co-Chair Barb Shakell-Barkey.

The program is now running Monday to Friday from 8-4 p.m.

Patients do not need a doctor’s referral to join. The Couchiching Ontario Health Team says it welcomes anyone who thinks they may have a chronic condition.

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