Whole Person, Whole Journey

In 2015, the Geriatric Health Systems (GHS) research group was asked by the South West and Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to provide research and consultation in support of dementia strategy development.


The GHS group's work included:

  • Interviews with 12 persons with dementia, 28 caregivers, and 48 health care providers and policy-makers
  • A review of dementia strategies from 16 countries and 6 Canadian provinces
  • In the South West LHIN:
    • Community advisory group of 50 community and health system representatives
    • A priority setting survey completed by 12 persons with dementia and caregivers, and 52 health care providers, administrators and policy makers
  • In the Waterloo-Wellington LHIN:
    • Input and advice on ranking and priority identification from the Waterloo-Wellington Dementia Advisory group (5 persons with dementia and 5 caregivers)
    • Strategy development activities at the 2015 "Passport Day" event, attended by over 180 service providers, administrators, researchers, older adults, caregivers, and others.

Key Findings

This strategy work identified the principles of "Whole Person" and "Whole Journey", which were incorporated into a model (displayed below) to support a holistic, person-centred perspective on the experience of dementia and on a broad and integrated health system and community response. 

Regional Dementia Strategy Framework

  • Whole Person: A person with dementia is more than their disease
  • Whole Journey: Age, stage of journey, and type of dementia influence the dementia experience and should be considered
  • Dementia Friendly Community: Well educated and understanding communities provide a foundation for individuals and organizations to support persons with dementia 

Key in the development of the dementia of the South West and Waterloo-Wellington LHINs dementia strategy, was the engagement of persons with dementia and their caregivers.