First Link® – A Referral Program for Health-Care Professionals linking people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and their caregivers to the Alzheimer Society for information, support and education.

The program is designed to link individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias with services and support as soon as possible after diagnosis.

A formal referral by physicians and health professionals allows for proactive contact from the Society to help the family better cope with their situation.

Supports available include information, support groups, education sessions and referral to other health resources as needed.

While physicians and health-care providers can make referrals via First Link®, individuals and their families can also contact the Alzheimer Society directly for assistance.

The First Link® referral program provides an opportunity for health care providers and other professionals to refer people with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia and their families to the Alzheimer Society for support, information and education. The referral process and response is as follows:

  • firstlinkdoctorUpon assessment, if cognitive changes or dementia is identified, the physician, other health care provider or community professional asks the person with dementia or their family if the Alzheimer Society can call them.
  • If the person agrees, the referral source completes the referral form and faxes it to the Alzheimer Society.
  • The form includes fields for the name and the phone number of the person to be contacted and whether the individual is the person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, the spouse/partner or an adult child. Space is provided for additional comments.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the referral source must be included on the referral form.
  • The Alzheimer Society will contact the person referred within five working days.
  • If after three attempts to contact the person over a four week period, contact has not been made, the referral source will be called and provided an update to determine further action.
  • Alzheimer Society staff speaks with the referred person to determine their information and support needs. The staff member works to develop an ongoing relationship with the person and to provide support as the disease progresses.
  • Following the first contact, the Alzheimer Society provides print material or directs the person to alzheimer.mb.ca for information about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the programs of the Society, legal and financial matters and community resources as appropriate.
  • The Alzheimer Society requests permission to make follow-up calls. Alzheimer Society services that are introduced include: supportive counselling, support groups, education sessions and Safely Home® registration. Other community services are discussed as appropriate to the needs of the client.
  • The Alzheimer Society will follow-up with the referring source at their request. The referral source notes their request for follow-up at the time of the referral.

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