Dementia advice is available through Health Link.
Alberta Health Services offers health advice and support to individuals living with dementia and their care partners by providing access to specialized dementia nurses through Health Link.
Dialing 811 (the number for Health Link) will put callers in touch with a registered nurse who can listen to their concerns, ask questions and offer advice around the clock. A caller who then requires additional support with issues pertaining specifically to dementia is referred to a specialized dementia nurse, who will get in touch with the caller within 72 hours.
Over the phone, specialized dementia nurses can assess an individual’s situation (including caregiver burnout), provide advice and link the caller to community services.
“By having a specialized line, we are able to better meet the needs of individuals living with dementia as well as their caregivers,” says Debra Kasowski, clinical manager, Health Link. “We are able to help them navigate the health system and provide them with support as they need it.”
Health Link 811 was launched in 2000 and has contact centres in Edmonton and Calgary. Every year, the service receives around 750,000 calls.
Previously, the specialized dementia nurse support was promoted primarily to rural and northern Albertans, but the service is available throughout the entire province.
Currently, specialized dementia nurses in Alberta average around 10 referrals per week. According to Alberta Health Services, the number of dementia cases is expected to more than double in Alberta as the baby boom generation ages, so an increase in calls is anticipated.
It is hoped that access to specialized dementia nurses by phone will help prevent unnecessary trips to emergency rooms and serve as a useful resource for people impacted by dementia who are looking for support and information. [ ]
Know Your “Links”
Health Link and First Link® are not the same thing! Provided by the Alzheimer Societies across Alberta, First Link® is a referral program that helps health care professionals ensure their patients get the support they need after a dementia diagnosis. For more information, visit firstlinkcalgary.ca.
Know Your Numbers
Here’s a rundown of other helpful numbers you can call.
For information on government and community-based health and social services in Calgary.
To connect with the City of Calgary or request a service within city limits.
For a directory of businesses and residences across Canada.
Information on road conditions, accidents, roadwork, weather, ferry services and wait times at border crossings.
For health advice and support from a registered nurse, available 24-7.
For health, safety or property emergencies.
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