A new active wait time strategy to care for patients before their first visit
As Ontario’s only academic medical centre dedicated solely to headache diagnosis, treatment and prevention, the Centre for Headache at Women’s College Hospital is in high demand. So the waiting list to see a specialist is often quite long.
That’s why the centre, which provides expert evaluation and individualized treatment plans for patients suffering from migraine and other headache disorders, has recently implemented an active wait time strategy to help patients before their first appointment through educational seminars. The seminars are run by the Centre’s advanced practice nurse, Valerie Lawler.
“By educating patients about common headache triggers such as poor sleep, skipping meals, dietary supplements and medication overuse, we can begin to help them before they see me,” explains Dr. Christine Lay, director, Centre for Headache, Women’s College Hospital. “When it comes time for their first appointment we can get to the root of the problem and see results faster, rather than going through the basics as they’ve been covered in our workshops.”
The educational sessions are designed to teach patients about some of the common causes of headaches, and provide information to help them manage their day-to-day pain.
Dr. Lay’s how-to guide for managing migraines includes:
1) Staying hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water per day
2) Avoiding caffeine
3) Staying away from artificially-flavoured or dyed food and beverages such as fruit punch, sports drinks and flavoured water products
4) Eating a protein-rich breakfast early each morning
5) Maintaining consistent sleep habits by waking up at the same time every day and avoiding long naps
6) If you experience headaches more than a few times per month, speak with your family physician
“We hope our educational strategy will reduce wait times, and make room for new patients sooner,” adds Dr. Lay.
And it’s already generating results.
“The information imparted during my session has been life-changing for me,” explains one patient. “I have used no medication, over-the-counter or prescription, since the session and my headaches have vastly improved.”
For more information on Women’s College Hospital’s Centre for Headache, visit www.womenscollegehospital.ca/headache.