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CAGP Regional Update from British Columbia

05 Dec 2016 10:36 AM | CAGP (Administrator)

The UBC Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Wilkins-Ho, continues to be academically active. Monthly Provincial Geriatric Psychiatry Videoconference Rounds are ongoing with video uplink to sites across BC. CADRE rounds (Current Areas of Division Research Endeavors) were held in June 2016 and served as a medium for subspecialty residents and division members to showcase academic and research projects.

The CLeAR Partnership Alliance (Call for Less Antipsychotics in Residential Care) of the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council is well underway in its second wave. Much is being learned as we attempt to reduce inappropriate usage of neuroleptics in those care facilities in BC volunteering to participate in this initiative.

The Elder Care Ethics Committee has begun its second year of providing ethics consults to teams caring for our older adults. It is an interdisciplinary committee with members from Providence Health Care and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. It is dedicated to supporting our clinicians, patients, and their caregivers and family. Medical Assistance in Dying has, of course, become a larger focus of discussion.

We are happy to report that four new geriatric psychiatrists were graduated from the UBC Geriatric Psychiatry Subspecialty Training Program in June 2016. The program currently has two trainees on track to graduate in 2018 and is in the process of interviewing new applicants.

We wish to thank Dr. Martha Donnelly for her tireless advocacy around trainee issues. While she has now stepped down from her former role of program director, Dr. Ashok Krishnamoorthy has taken her place and brings significant experience in medical education to UBC. Unfortunately, funding of positions remains an active issue and the number of supported places for the 2017 intake has dropped from two to one.

As one of the largest and fastest growing health authorities in Canada, the Fraser Health Authority (spanning from the cities of Burnaby to Hope) is continuing to make exciting efforts to meet the demands of an aging population. One highlight is the Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment Project. Phase one, scheduled for completion in 2019, includes construction of a new 75-bed mental health and substance use facility. It will offer a dedicated geriatric psychiatry unit designed for older adults experiencing acute mental illness. 

The UBC Tertiary Geriatric Psychiatry Committee continues to support P.I.E.C.E.S. initiatives in BC.   Dr. Carol Ward is the clinical lead for the Kamloops Interior Health Integrated P.I.E.C.E.S. initiative and the Tertiary Older Adult Provincial P.I.E.C.E.S. initiative. Dr. Mary Lou Harrigan is the project lead for the tertiary initiative. Both programs continue to progress well and there is interest from the BC government in expanding P.I.E.C.E.S. across the continuum of care in the province. To that end, an advisory committee, the Provincial P.I.E.C.E.S. Reference Group, has been struck.

This committee is examining multiple approaches to expanding the program, including development of facilitators in BC. Dr. Ward and Dr. Harrigan have recently published a short film on P.I.E.C.E.S. and leadership, available at

The Ministry of Health has also renewed our P.I.E.C.E.S. license, ensuring the initiative will be delivered across the continuum of care in BC.        Dr. Elizabeth Drance and Dr. Carol Ward continue to deliver their workshop: Dementia-Related Responsive Behaviour: Putting it All Together Using P.I.E.C.E.S. and the BC BPSD Algorithm – A Workshop for Physicians (3.75 hours accredited College of Family Physicians and Royal College of Canada). The workshop has been rolled out successfully in several sites across the province.

We are also pleased to announce the publication of Seniors Services: A Provincial Guide to Dementia Care in British Columbia available at

Submitted by: Dr. Paul Blackburn and Dr. Bonnie S Wiese.

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