New study ongoing at Labrador Health Centre looks to help area residents focus on personal health goals
© Danette Dooley photo
Dr. Kris Aubrey is coordinating the BETTER Study (Building on Existing Tools to Improve Chronic Disease Prevention in Family Practice). He hopes residents in the Upper Lake Melville area will assist researchers and give patients more information to improve their health.
Are you between 40 and 65 years of age?
Would you like to help health professionals screen for and perhaps prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions Dr. Margo Wilson at the Labrador Health Centre would like you to consider participating in a study that will not only assist researchers but will give patients more information to improve their health.
Wilson is a general practitioner at the Labrador Health Centre.
She is overseeing the project in the Happy-Valley Goose Bay area — one of three sites in this province participating in the multi-million dollar, multi-province chronic disease prevention and screening study.
The study is called BETTER (Building on Existing Tools to Improve Chronic Disease Prevention in Family Practice).
The goal of the project is to provide patients with extra clinic time where they can focus on their health needs.
“This is a good opportunity to have a visit with a health professional and come up your own health goals,” Wilson said.
Those interested in the project will complete a questionnaire about their health and then have a one-on-one visit with a prevention practitioner to discuss the participant’s health and set prevention goals.
A prevention practitioner is a person trained to talk to patients about improving their health through prevention and screening.
Loriann Lyall, a licensed practical nurse at Labrador Health Centre, is the prevention practitioner looking after the project in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Lyall is working closely with Wilson.
Other study sites in this province are St. John’s and St. Mary’s/Mount Carmel.
“This (project) gives people more knowledge about themselves, it’s an opportunity for them to get more involved in their health care,” Wilson says.
Dr. Kris Aubrey, a St. John’s-based physician, is coordinating the project.
He is a researcher in Memorial University’s Primary Healthcare Unit.
The unit falls under the umbrella of Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine.
In Labrador, he says, the visits will take place at the outpatient clinic at the Labrador Health Centre and should take an hour or less.
“Anyone who has any difficulty reading the questionnaire can go over it with the prevention practitioner. Once it’s completed they go through the results with the prevention practitioner.”
The health professional will then determine if the patient needs cancer screening tests or interventions like changing their diet, changing their physical activity and stopping smoking.
Blood pressure checks and blood work may also be involved, Aubrey says.
“We’ll come up with all the eligible things they can get done based on their age, based on their family history as all that comes out in the prevention survey.”
The survey isn’t overbearing in any way, Aubrey says, rather is an opportunity to share in the decision-making concerning your health.
The project is funded by Health Canada, through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
Donna Manca of the University of Alberta and Eva Grunfeld of the University of Toronto are leading the project, Aubrey says.
There are also many other people involved at different sites across the country, he says.
“Physicians are so busy with acute care that, by and large, we don’t have enough time to do appropriate preventative care. And that’s where we can really save lives, save the health system money and save people from developing a significant amount of diseases that are impacting our lives,” Aubrey says.
Because physicians are so busy, bringing other health care professionals into the mix in conducting such studies is important, Aubrey says.
Anyone who would like more information about the project can contact Loriann Lyall at (709) 897-2174. Information is also available online at www.betterproject.ca