By Margaret Angus
(Published in Nova Scotia Health's 2017/18 Annual Report)
"I liked it from Day One," Len Thomas said of his experience as a patient at the Eastside Collaborative Care Centre. He has been a patient at this collaborative practice in New Glasgow for the past five years.
"I don't always see my doctor," Thomas said. "When I call for an appointment, administrative staff will ask what the appointment is for so they can refer me to the appropriate professional. If I need bloodwork done, I see the nurse practitioner; the team there is very skilled."
Collaborative family practice team members work together to provide comprehensive and co-ordinated care for patients, based on their specific health needs. Patients benefit from having access to a variety of health professionals, conveniently practising in one location.
The East Side Collaborative Care Centre team includes family physicians, a nurse practitioner and family practice nurses, who work with the support of health professionals such as a chronic disease nurse, dietitian, physiotherapist and social worker.
No matter which team member Thomas has an appointment with, they all have access to his electronic medical record to provide coordinated care.
Thomas is grateful to have access to a skilled, collaborative primary care team close to home, enabling him to receive the care that he needs, when he needs it.
Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) is creating more and strengthening existing collaborative family practice teams in the province. In 2017-18, new funding was announced to add 39 more health professionals to teams, including nurse practitioners, family practice nurses and social workers.
These new providers help to increase access to comprehensive primary health care for more Nova Scotians. Collaborative family practice teams also help to recruit and retain family physicians and other health professionals in communities across the province.
There are more than 50 collaborative family practice teams right now in Nova Scotia.