In 2002 the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County, in collaboration with the Dementia Network of Ottawa (later the Champlain Dementia Network) launched an innovative new program called “First Link”, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. It was targeted to primary health care physicians and facilities to create a direct referral system for individuals newly diagnosed with dementia and their families to a continuum of care encompassing learning, services and support.
This simple approach resonated well with a health and social care system beginning to take notice of the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In time the First Link program name was trademarked by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and their local members across the country adapted and adopted it widely.
In keeping with our recent name change and the work we have been doing to re-brand our resources accordingly, we are pleased to announce that The Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County now offers the program under the new name Dementia Link.
In all aspects except the name, the programming remains the same providing information, referrals and support for people newly diagnosed with dementia, and their families. Every year we receive close to a thousand referrals from primary care physicians linking their patients to our organization and the services as provided by our Dementia Tele-Support and Enhanced Dementia Support programs.
Annually the Dementia Society provides one to one support for 3800 dementia caregivers representing over 7,500 beneficiaries (as each caregiver is of course connected to at least one person with a dementia diagnosis). We connect to a further 2,500 people who attend education or social group programming without being a Dementia Link client. We have been providing support to people impacted by dementia in Ottawa, for more than 35 years.
Our goal moving forward is that every person diagnosed with any form of dementia in Ottawa or Renfrew County is encouraged by their physicians to access Dementia Link in order to get quickly connected to the full range of information, support and services they need.
NOTE: The Dementia Link Referral form may be found on our website or can be ordered by calling The Dementia Society at 613-523-4004.
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