First Link ®
First Link® is an innovative referral program designed to assist individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, as well as their families and caregivers. First Link® provides support from the point of diagnosis and throughout the progression of the disease.
The First Link ® program contains five essential elements:
- Partnerships with physicians, health professionals and community organizations.
- Formal Referrals as soon as a diagnosis is made or at any other time in the progression of the disease.
- Proactive outreach to individuals and families.
- Information and connection to Alzheimer Society of PEI programs and services, and other community and health care services.
- Planned follow up at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, etc. to ensure families are being supported.
Why First Link® matters:
The diagnosis of dementia can be frightening, plunging families into a confusing network of medical care and social services. People may not know what to do or who to call. Too often families struggle to cope with the challenges alone, waiting until crisis, an emergency room visit, or caregiver burnout before seeking help.
First Link® bridges the gap between diagnosis and support. It offers a single point of entry to appropriate health-care information and referral to other services available locally, such as medications, respite programs, education, and life planning. Families learn about, plan for, and adjust to the journey of dementia.
First Link benefits to the health-care system:
First Link® reduces the number of visits to emergency departments, days spent in acute care beds, and crisis-related long-term care placements.
Earlier interventions allow individuals with dementia to live independently longer and families to provide care at home as long as possible. Each year one person is delayed from entering long-term care results in a savings of approximately $50,000.
First Link® strengthens partnerships between the Alzheimer Society of PEI and health care professionals, as well as other community service providers which provides a more holistic approach to dementia care.
First Link® encourages health care professionals to focus on the medical aspects of dementia care while Alzheimer Society staff provide ongoing support, education, and help in navigating the health care system.
Making a referral is simple:
Who can be referred?
- Individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia
- Family members
- Individuals with a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment or other memory problems
Who can make a referral?
- Health care professionals
- Community organizations working with individuals affected by dementia
- Family members, caregivers, and individuals with dementia can also self-refer
When to refer?
- As soon as a diagnosis is made
- At any other time in the dementia journey
How to refer?
- Ask the individual or family member for permission to forward their name to the Alzheimer Society.
- Complete the online referral form below or email or fax a referral form to the Alzheimer Society
What happens after the Alzheimer Society receives the referral?
Within four weeks, the Education Coordinator will call the individual with dementia or the primary caregiver to provide information, assess needs, and refer them to helpful community and health care services. Information will be provided to First Link clients through a variety of means including a customized information package, a quarterly newsletter, an invitation to attend our next Caregiver Education series, and personal follow-up calls. A confirmation will be sent to each referring professional once contact has been made with the individual or family.
We invite your support in serving Islanders living the journey of dementia. For more information or to become a referring partner to the First Link® Program contact our First Link Educator at [email protected] or 902-370-3135.
To make a referral complete this online form:
First Link® Referral Form