"Rise in the presence of the aged, and show respect for the elderly."

Seniors’ clinic shut down

Home > Abuse & Neglect Studies Blog > Seniors’ clinic shut down

“The system is failing this population.”

Dr. David Duke
Alberta Government shuts down Seniors Clinic in northeast Edmonton

A clinic that provides specialty care to frail seniors in northeast Edmonton is losing its only two medical staff.
A clinic that’s cared for thousands of seniors in northeast Edmonton will stop providing medical services on March 30, 2018 when its only two medical staff retire.
Alberta Health Services said the clinic is not closing and the department will recruit a new geriatrician and nurse practitioner, but Dr. Douglas Duke said the community is losing a critical service for frail seniors.
Duke, who announced his retirement last December, said there is no one to pass along the model they’ve developed.
“To our mind, we have a very effective and useful program and now that’s not going to be perpetuated,” Duke told CBC News.
AHS thanked Duke and nurse practitioner Teresa Genge for their “excellent care.”
In a statement, AHS spokesperson Kirsten Goruk, Senior Media Relations Advisor – Edmonton, said the department will work with the community and those providing care to older adults “to review the services offered and discuss how staff can better meet the needs of their patients.”
In the meantime, long-term patients will be treated at a family clinic in the same building, Goruk added.

Duke said when he and his team first launched the clinic in 2000, the goal was to develop the best model to serve frail older adults. He said the “guerilla style warfare” model involved connecting patients with resources and maintaining close contact with their hospitals and home-care providers, as well as home visits.

It also meant there was a “go-to” person available at the clinic — in this case Genge — to discuss questions and concern “We’re all over the place — working with people, but also bothering people,” said Duke. “If you don’t do that, everything gets fragmented, the patients get lost, the families get frustrated.”

Ruth Adria with the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society praised Duke for speaking out strongly in defence of Edmonton seniors.
She said with people living longer, the specialized care of older people is more important than ever.

“The care of the frail elderly is a specialty just like gynecology or pediatrics and you have to physicians and nursing staff that are knowledgeable,” said Adria.
Goruk said administrative staff at the seniors’ clinic will continue to answer phones, greet patients and make sure people are connected with a physician. Duke, who first voiced his concern by publishing an advertisement in the Edmonton Journal, said he decided to speak out because ” the system is failing this population.”

He said his concern is that programs like his are managed by people who are “at arm’s-length or further away from the actual patient care.
“To tell you the truth, seniors’ care at best has gone sideways if not down,” said Duke. “I don’t see the services are any better now. It seems more fragmented. There is no cohesive plan for what they call the aging tsunami.”

Adapted from CBC News 29/03/18


We applaud Dr. Douglas Duke and Nurse Teresa Genge for who they are, for caring and being an example to all of us.