Improving the quality of life for patients with mobility challenges

Alt=''For the last eight years, since an accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury, Jeremy Howcroft relies on a wheelchair for mobility. He is one of the patients of the Mobility Clinic at the Centre for Family Medicine in Waterloo where an inter-professional team provides care for patients with health conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, stroke, severe arthritis, and spinal cord injuries.

Jeremy credits the Mobility Clinic for being an important source of information. “Consuming knowledge made my situation less frightening,” he says. In fact, Jeremy attributes the education he received to making the challenges he was facing “manageable.”

According to Jeremy, the main benefit of going to the Mobility Clinic is having easy access to a team of knowledgeable professionals who understand the complex aspects of his health care. Instead of waiting for a referral to a specialist, he has access to a physician, nurse, chiropractor, occupational therapist, social worker, and pharmacist who understand spinal cord injuries as well as other chronic health conditions that impact mobility.

Jeremy says there are many secondary benefits to being a patient at the Mobility Clinic. Annual appointments and assessments provide preventative care and help Jeremy maintain his health. He receives routine tests and screening for health risks associated with his spinal cord injury. Jeremy says he also appreciates friendly reminders from staff, including “take your calcium.”

It’s not unusual for individuals with mobility issues to encounter barriers and have trouble accessing the health care they need. Fortunately, for these patients the Mobility Clinic is accessible and fully equipped to meet their needs.

Sarah Pritchard, an Occupational Therapist at the clinic explains that assisting individuals with their mobility, and at the same time being able to help with supportive medical needs like wound care or removing stitches, helps patients avoid trips to the emergency department.

Jeremy recognizes the Mobility Clinic for improving his quality of life. He appreciates receiving hands-on care from Dr. James Milligan, who in addition to being a family physician has expertise in the medical conditions that impact mobility.

Dr. Milligan is working to improve access to care and help family doctors understand some of the secondary issues associated with the patients he sees at the Mobility Clinic. “In the long term, we may be able to help manage some of the chronic secondary issues and prevent worsening problems, as well as emergency room and hospital visits.”

All referrals to the Mobility Clinic must come from a primary care provider. To refer a patient, please contact 519‑904‑0656. Mobility clinics are located at the Centre for Family Medicine in Waterloo and at the Conrad Medical Centre in Kitchener. Patients can also be referred for a wheelchair and seating assessment at the same location. An occupational therapist will work collaboratively with the patient, wheelchair and equipment vendors, community therapists, and other members of their care team.