Before the One Door Centre opened in 2013, Wade McCann’s COPD meant multiple appointments, travelling to different locations to see different specialists.
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an umbrella term for a number of progressive lung diseases, in Wade’s case emphysema and asthma, which is characterized by breathlessness and difficulty breathing.
Now his chronic illness is being managed more efficiently.
Nova Scotia Health Authority’s One Door Centre in Pictou County was set up as a patient-centred, collaborative practice for people living with a chronic disease. It means that all of the services and health care professionals involved in the care of some chronic conditions are under one roof and working as a team. This includes a nurse practitioner, chronic disease management nurses, dietitians, social workers, respiratory therapists, and physiotherapist, among others.
McCann said he feels the clinic has made a remarkable difference in helping him manage his condition and live a normal life.
“I have access to a care team – I can call and talk to someone whenever I have an issue. I have an action plan that was put in place jointly with my team. I know how to use my puffers properly, which is critical. I know my triggers – the things that can cause a flare-up. And I have a pharmacist that is a part of my team, which makes a heck of a difference.”
In addition to McCann’s COPD, he had a major heart attack in 2015, which required triple bypass surgery.
“Being told you have a widow maker’s heart kind of makes you start to take your health seriously.”
His heart disease is also treated at the One Door Centre, where he took a 12-week cardiac rehabilitation course, which he credits with getting him on track for living with one more chronic illness.
“They were very informative. They gave my wife and I the confidence that I could improve my heart condition and get on a pathway to living a better, healthier life. And they were right. My heart is stronger now. The functioning has improved from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.”
And although normal heart function for someone McCann’s age is 70 per cent, he says his condition is very manageable and he is coping well and staying active.
If McCann has one message for others, it’s to act.
“I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I should have. I totally took my health for granted. But not anymore. I give thanks to the medical system that I’m here today. One Door has given me the information and tools I need so that I can better manage and live with my chronic illness. I am living proof of what you can accomplish when you commit to sticking with your care plan and taking advantage of all the programs and services that are available here.”
As part of its mandate to enhance health care in Pictou County, the Aberdeen Health Foundation has supported the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s One Door Centre by providing funding for some of the needed equipment, such as blood pressure machines, scales, and a blood glucose monitoring system, as well as supporting the certification of the Centre’s diabetes educator.
“Hearing stories like Wade’s just underscores the important support role the Foundation plays,” says Susan Malcolm, executive director. “As the first of its kind in Nova Scotia, the One Door Centre represents an important innovation in patient care. An advance the Aberdeen Health Foundation is proud to support.”
For more information, visit aberdeenhealthfoundation.ca/OneDoor.