CONNECT Program


Patients living in rural and remote northern communities in Manitoba and Nunavut can face challenges accessing primary and specialized healthcare due to geographic, socio-economic and cultural factors. To improve access to specialized concussion care, the Pan Am Concussion Program has partnered with leaders from Ongomiizwin Health Services, MBTelehealth, First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Jordan’s Principle, Kivalliq Inuit Services and Government of Nunavut to developed the Pan Am Clinic CONcussion in the North EConsultation and Telemedicine (CONNECT) Program.

Through this unique program, primary care providers can request an EConsultation that allows a neurosurgeon to provide clinical guidance that can assist in the management of their patients. In addition, pediatric patients with head injuries and concussion evaluated at emergency departments and primary care facilities in rural and remote communities in Manitoba and Nunavut can be referred for assessment and longitudinal follow-up by a neurosurgeon via in-person videoconferencing. Together, this program allows patients living in rural and remote communities in Manitoba and Nunavut to receive the highest standard of concussion and TBI care closer to their home communities.

Referral forms for in-person assessment, EConsultation, and telemedicine-based in-person videoconferencing are available on this website.

CONNECT Program

Manitoba and Nunavut

Description

In partnership with leaders from Ongomiizwin Health Services, First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Jordan’s Principle, Government of Nunavut, and MBTelehealth, the Pan Am Clinic has developed a pediatric concussion telemedicine to improve access to specialized care for youth with concussion and traumatic brain injury. 

Physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses working in communities throughout Manitoba and the Kivalliq region of Nunavut may refer pediatric concussion patients (<20 years age) to the Pan Am Clinic CONNECT program for in-person videoconferencing. 

Because of the limitations of performing a complete physical examination via video-conferencing it is important that all patients undergo a complete medical assessment and neurological examination to rule out any clinical evidence of a more severe head injury or cervical spine injury prior to referral.  If a structural cervical spine injury is suspected, diagnostic imaging should be completed prior to referral, if available.  The results of any diagnostic tests should also be faxed along with the referral form. 

A referral to the CONNECT program can be made using the CONNECT Referral Form.  It is important that all referrals include up to date contact information for the patient (parent/guardian) and include results of any diagnostic tests.  It is also important to indicate whether translation services will be required to conduct the assessment. 

All patient referrals will be reviewed by the neurosurgeon to determine eligibility of conducting the initial assessment via video-conferencing.  If eligible, the administrative assistant at the Pan Am Concussion Program will schedule video-conferencing appointments at the nearest telemedicine site.  Once the appointment is confirmed, the administrative assistant at the Pan Am Concussion Program will contact the patient to notify them of the appointment date/time.  If initial assessment cannot be safely performed using in-person videoconferencing, an in-person assessment at the concussion program will be arranged. 

Patients who are referred to the CONNECT program and are not deemed to be eligible for videoconferencing will be contacted by the administrative assistant at the Pan Am Concussion Program to arrange an in-person consultation as soon as possible. 

Consultation response letters will be sent to the referring healthcare provider and the healthcare centre at which the telemedicine appointment is completed. 

All patients referred to the CONNECT program will be followed to clinical recovery. 

Note: This program is not to be used for children and adolescents with suspected acute traumatic brain and spine injuries that require emergency medical assessment.  It is also not to be used for general neurosurgery consultations.

Background

  • Pediatric concussion is an important public health concern that affects hundreds of children and adolescents in Canada annually. 
  • Pediatric concussion patients with persistent symptoms are at risk of developing impaired school performance, quality of life, and mental health functioning. 
  • Clinical research suggests that optimizing the care of pediatric concussion patients requires access to a multi-disciplinary team of physicians and healthcare professionals with training and expertise in traumatic brain injury. 
  • Youth living in rural and remote communities in Manitoba and Nunavut are disadvantaged due to limited access to healthcare professionals with specialized expertise in concussion and traumatic brain injury.

Contact

Pan Am Concussion Program Clinic phone number: 204-927-2766 

Clinic fax number: 204-927-2768 

Vickie Derksen, Administrative Assistant, Phone: 204-927-2649

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