Paediatric rheumatology patients are limited to seeing paediatric rheumatologists located in tertiary care children’s hospitals in large Southern Ontario centres, or in community settings within the GTA. The longstanding visiting specialist paediatric rheumatology clinic in Sudbury is popular and busy, but large areas of the province remain underserved.
With the help of the ORA and The Arthritis Society, a Paediatric Models of Care (MOC) initiative aims to provide care for all children, closer to home. The multi-step project is well underway and we are currently in our third phase of pilot testing (and refining) two telemedicine clinics in Thunder Bay and Windsor.
With ACPAC trained therapists (with an interest in paediatrics) at the remote site, and a paediatric rheumatologist at the tertiary care centre (currently London and Toronto), we are able to see and examine patients with inflammatory arthritis and other childhood rheumatic diseases closer to home. This results in less time away from work and school, and less precarious winter travel. Satisfaction surveys are being completed by families at both sites, and progress to date will be presented at the upcoming Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) meeting in Vancouver.
We hope to be able to secure ongoing funding for this initiative, in order to support the time of the therapists, expansion to new sites, and ongoing education in paediatric rheumatology for all Ontario-based ACPAC therapists.