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There are an estimated 12,000 older adults1-2 currently living with dementia in Nova Scotia. This number is expected to grow in the coming years as our population continues to age. Identifying and understanding the needs of persons with dementia is an important first step in providing care and support to these individuals and their families. With the availability of healthcare services and social supports varying by community and changing over time, frequent examination of the current needs across regions is important for monitoring and improving the quality of dementia care in the province. This research project will look at the needs of Nova Scotians with dementia who are currently living at home and explore ways to improve the care and services provided to them.

Telehealth (care provided from a distance using the telephone or internet) can be an effective way of improving access to care in rural communities and other underserviced areas, but it is not commonly used in Nova Scotia at the present time. During the COVID-19 pandemic many in-person medical visits and support programs have been put on hold, and telehealth has been used to provide care on a large scale throughout the province. Although telehealth is a promising way of delivering healthcare services to underserviced communities, it is unclear whether telehealth and other virtual supports are the best way to improve dementia care in Nova Scotia.

Using a province-wide survey, we are looking at the current needs of persons living with dementia and measuring people’s experiences with and attitudes towards telehealth. Several groups of people are being asked to participate in the survey, including persons living with dementia and their family members and care partners, as well as healthcare providers and community support workers.

This research project will increase our understanding of the current health and social needs of persons with dementia throughout the province and will help us determine whether telehealth is suitable for Nova Scotians living with dementia.

1. PHAC. Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS) 2018.

2. StatsCan. Annual Demographic Estimates: Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2019.