The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) and TAIBU Community Health Centre (TAIBU) continue to build on their relationship to complete the circle of care for Sickle Cell disease patients.
Since 1996, TSH has been providing universal screening of all newborns to detect Sickle Cell disease, while TAIBU has extensive experience working with patients living with the disease. This partnership now offers Sickle Cell patients a coordinated referral service for ongoing care to manage the complications of the disease between hospital and community/home.
Sickle Cell disease is an inherited blood disorder (gene defect) that has many risk factors, including suffering from anemia, experiencing a pain (or sickle) crisis, acute chest syndrome, and stroke.
“When acute care is needed, we want to ensure that patients are connected with a team that can work with them to prevent a crisis requiring emergency attendance or hospital admission,” said Nancy Veloso, Patient Care Director, Medicine and Emergency Care, TSH. “The partnership with TAIBU encourages a better quality of life for patients who are living with chronic disease management.”
The two organizations worked together to develop standardized health practice protocols to be used when Sickle Cell patients arrive at TSH for care. They also developed a referral process whereby TSH patients, prior to discharge, can be referred to TAIBU where they can access more information and resources on health, nutrition, pain management, and triggers that may cause the onset of a crisis. TAIBU offers the only community-based specialized primary care for adults with Sickle Cell disease in the GTA.
“It is nice to know that when we discharge patients, they are not only going back home in better health, but we can refer them to TAIBU where they will be under the care of a network of health professionals who understand their disease and can help them better manage it,” said Dr. Norm Chu, Chief of Emergency Services, TSH.
“A positive partnership between the hospital and community always leads to better care for patients,” stated Liben Gebremikael, Executive Director, TAIBU. “This has been demonstrated through our relationship with TSH. Since 2015, we have been able to reduce the number of hospital visits by adults with Sickle Cell disease by approximately 65 per cent. This is a significant outcome for patients, service providers, and the health care system.”
This collaboration also encourages program expansion, including group education/counselling sessions, co-location in strong community hubs, and the potential to explore partnerships with other community programs.