When Archie La Rocque’s younger brother passed way 12 years ago from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis at the age of 44, “there was a fatalistic attitude toward the disease,” says Archie. Until he was referred to the Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) clinic at RUH in 2018, Archie, who has a different type of pulmonary fibrosis saw his health steadily decline. According to Archie’s wife, Arlene Mongovius, the clinic provided a new attitude toward lung disease. “We are no longer waiting for my husband to die; instead they have offered him treatment, and most importantly hope for the future,
Archie’s story is not unique. Over a 19-month period, the multidisciplinary team at the ILD clinic was able to refine or change the diagnosis in 78.2% of referred cases, resulting in appropriate treatment options and support in prognosis.
Dr. Veronica Marcoux, the province’s only ILD Specialist, started the ILD clinic and explains how donor support through the RUH Foundation has made a difference: “Central to any ILD clinic is the support of a dedicated nurse who provides patient care, medication counselling, emotional support, and organizes the patient support group for the province. With RUH Foundation’s support we were able to extend her position, which now allows me to have more time to dedicate to patient care, multidisciplinary rounds with dedicated chest radiologists and pathology, and research.”
The ILD clinic is just one of six chronic care initiatives funded through our Foundation’s $1.5 million donation to the Department of Medicine last year. Other innovative projects aimed at improving the quality of care for patients with chronic conditions include:
- Identifying demographics, clinical characteristics, and potential gaps in patient care for cardiac patients.
- Re-examining care practices for patients with both diabetes and cardiac conditions.
- Developing culturally safe approaches for improving health literacy for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure.
- Validating the use of a mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) unit for diagnosis of epilepsy.
- Developing a nurse-led telephonebased secondary stroke prevention follow up program.
The chronic care studies are overseen by Dr. Haissam Haddad, Provincial Head of Medicine for the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine for the University of Saskatchewan. “By enabling us to focus on chronic conditions, donors to the Foundation support the work that will improve the health and quality of life for many of our friends, family and neighbours,” states Dr. Haddad.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of Saskatchewan residents are living with at least one of the five most common chronic conditions: diabetes, COPD, asthma, ischemic heart disease, and heart failure. Ultimately, the goal of the new and innovative chronic care initiatives at RUH is to implement new processes and procedures to care for patients and their families who live with chronic illness throughout the province. This research and support offers answers and provides hope for the future.