In 2010, Shannex and Dalhousie University joined to create the first academic nursing home in Atlantic Canada. Through collaboration among health professionals, researchers, educators, learners, clients and their families, the Maplestone Collaborative Learning Centre (CLC) seeks to enhance the preparation of new health professionals for collaborative practice in long term care and to identify and address current issues in long term care policy and practice.
Located at Maplestone Enhanced Care, an 87-bed Shannex facility in Halifax, the Collaborative Learning Centre was made possible through formal partnership agreements with Dalhousie’s Department of Family Medicine and Faculty of Health Professions, both signed in 2010. The Family Medicine partnership involves academic attending physicians and first year Family Medicine residents who provide ongoing medical care to all Maplestone clients. The Health Professions partnership has integrated researchers, educators and learners from professions with established roles in long term care (LTC) in Nova Scotia (such as nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy and social work) and those with developing roles in this sector (such as audiology, nurse practitioner and speech language pathology).
Together, CLC partners have created an interprofessional learning environment for all health professions that will lead a positive change in attitude and culture towards LTC and care of the elderly and set the standard for client-directed, collaborative care by:
- enhancing client care and service delivery;
- fostering greater interest in and understanding of practice in LTC;
- equipping participants with the competencies necessary for interprofessional collaboration; and
- contributing to the continuing care and education sectors through the development and integration of relevant research opportunities.
To date, over 160 learners from 12 professions have completed rotations through the CLC and there hae been two structured interprofessional education (IPE) placements. Currently, a team development grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is supporting the identification of collaborative research priorities.
Feedback from learners, Maplestone clients, families and staff to date has been overwhelmingly positive: “There’s so much overlap between the professions that we’ve learned that to work independently isn’t really beneficial…that if we work as a collaborative team we can actually be more beneficial and effective for the client’s care.” Faculty of Health Professions Student, 2011.
Anne Godden-Webster, Interprofessional Experience Coordinator, Faculty of Health Professions
Vonda Hayes, Professor and Education Coordinator, Department of Family Medicine
Althea Lacas, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Catherine MacPherson, Project Manager, Collaborative Learning Centre, Maplestone Enhanced Care