Huron County is thrilled to announce a new service for the communities of this region. Dr Alexandrea Peel, Geriatrician, has opened clinics at Goderich, Clinton and Wingham Hospitals.
Dr Peel grew up on a farm near Wingham and has returned with her husband Andy (from the Lucknow area) and new son Cohen. After completing medical school, a residency in internal medicine and her fellowship in Geriatrics, all leading her to several communities across Ontario, she chose to come home.
We are an aging population. This region has a higher proportion of elderly residents than similar communities in Ontario. An influx of retiring seniors from urban areas attracted to the beauty of the region and the strong medical services contributes to the need for specialized services of this nature.
A geriatrician is an internal medicine physician with additional training in caring for older adults with complex health care needs and assisting their caregivers with their care. Geriatricians provide a comprehensive consultation and treatment plan as well as follow up visits in collaboration with family doctors or nurse practitioners. Examples of common reasons to see a geriatrician include multiple health problems, hospitalizations or emergency visits, multiple medication side effects, falls, memory problems, or trouble managing at home. Dr. Peel also provides home visits and visits to long-term care or retirement home or to hospital inpatients when required. A referral from your family doctor or nurse practitioner is required.
We are very fortunate to have a tremendous health care system with hospitals, family health teams, long term care facilities, home care, a rural health research centre and retirement communities and now we have an opportunity to deliver advanced specialized care to more individuals. Adding a Geriatrician is an important step for our community. Dr. Peel hopes to secure funding from the community and the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care to develop a specialized interdisciplinary team who can respond to urgent health concerns of frail older adults and their caregivers. The goal is to provide the system navigation and medical intervention to prevent reliance on the emergency department and hospital system for issues that can be managed in the community. This team would be closely supported by Geriatricians, Geriatric Psychiatrists, and Care of the Elderly Physicians.
To determine the older patient’s state of health Dr. Peel does a comprehensive geriatric assessment. Her new consultations are usually 1.5- 2 hours in length. Evidence has shown this intervention improves quality of life and health outcomes for older adults.
Across Canada there are only approximately 300 physicians specifically trained in geriatrics. “It is our goal to establish excellent accessible senior care in this region and we look forward to communicating with key stakeholders in our community” said Devereaux.
Dr Peel is also a clinical teacher who hosts other prospective Geriatricians and Care of the Elderly Resident Doctors from Western University. Her first resident arrived this fall! She hopes to attract more Geriatricians, Geriatric Psychiatrists, and Care of the Elderly Physicians to practice in rural areas.
“I am so lucky to be warmly welcomed back to the community I grew up in. Caring for older people and their caregiver requires a village of supporters. All of the family doctors and family health teams, hospitals, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, Alzheimer’s societies, senior’s mental health services, geriatric nurses have been so helpful in setting up my practice. There is lots of work to be done and I have the best team around me” said Dr. Peel.
Newly elected Mayor of Goderich John Grace said “Welcome Dr Peel! Your arrival means so much to the delivery of healthcare to rural Ontario and in particular within our region. With the demographic shift in rural Ontario, it is absolutely essential to have a Geriatrician as one of our healthcare providers to complement the growing need. This is welcome news. As Mayor of Goderich, I couldn’t be happier.”