Newmarket, Ontario – August 17, 2010 – The innovative model of care used by The Arthritis Program (TAP) at Newmarket-based Southlake Regional Health Centre has seen exceptional results since its launch in 1991.  Now, TAP is reaching out to other health care providers across the country to share its journey of success.
 
With the support of a Canadian Initiative for Outcomes in Rheumatology Care (CIORA) grant, TAP has for the first time created a training program designed to teach its model of care in a formalized, branded way.
 
Called the TAP Interprofessional Training Program (ITP), the initiative is being launched in response to demand from health professionals at other hospitals, pharmaceutical industry collaborators and healthcare administrators, both locally and nationally, said Lorna Bain, TAP Coordinator at Southlake Regional Health Centre.
 
TAP is a collaborative, interprofessional patient-centered care program that brings together experts in arthritis care including physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, and kinesiologists, as well as dietitians and clerical staff. The aim of the program is to provide diagnosis, education and treatment to those who have arthritis. The program has been exceedingly successful in helping patients gain control over their disease through self management and empowerment. The success of this model of care has led many health care professionals to ask questions about how this collaborative method works and whether it is transferrable to other sites and institutions.
 
“Since the inception of TAP, our group has received a large number of requests for observation, coaching and mentorship from professionals looking to transfer the application to their own sites,” explained Bain, who managed the development of the training program. “We are pleased to be able to fill an important gap in the industry by providing others with the tools to understand the principals of our model of care, in order for the model to be easily applied to their home-based clinical setting,” she said, adding that TAP is offering partial funding support for initial users of the training program as part of the CIORA grant.
 
To help develop the training program, the Southlake team conducted a web-based survey of  157 rheumatology health care physicians and practitioners across Canada last year. Designed to assess the current models of practice nationally as well as the knowledge, skills, attitudes and readiness relating to interprofessional collaborative (IPC) practice in arthritis care, the survey also asked participants about their challenges and barriers to IPC practice.
 
“The results of the survey demonstrate that there are many diverse models of rheumatology care in Canada,” Bain explained, adding that only 30 per cent of practitioners feel their team is currently working within an IPC practice model. “Respondents identified a greater need for IPC training than for clinical skills training related to rheumatology practice.”
 
Created in four modules that can be taught on their own or in a combined format, TAP-ITP is effective for both individuals and teams of practitioners, Bain explained. Although modeled on an arthritis program, it is generic and applicable to clinical teams in a variety of settings.
 
The training program is delivered through a combination of e-learning, online community information sharing, independent application exercises and classroom studies.
 
“At the end of the training program, participants will walk away with the necessary tools to be able to independently roll out elements of  this proven model of care within their own organizations,” Bain said.
 
For more information about TAP-ITP, please call Lorna Bain at (905) 895-4521 ext. 2274.
 
About Southlake Regional Health Centre (www.southlakeregional.org)
 
Based in Newmarket, Southlake Regional Health Centre is a full-service hospital with a provincial mandate to deliver advanced diagnostic and treatment services in cancer care, cardiac care, pediatric and perinatal care, child and adolescent eating disorders, and child and adolescent mental health care. It also specializes in arthritis care and thoracic and cataract surgery. Serving more than one million residents of York Region and South Simcoe, Southlake is in the process of transforming to a teaching and research centre.
 
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