The Centre for Family Medicine Mobility Clinic Meeting the Needs of Patients with Mobility Challenges in Waterloo Wellington 

Kitchener, November 25, 2014 

Dr. James Milligan

The Centre for Family Medicine (CFFM) Mobility Clinic in Kitchener is being recognized locally, provincially and nationally for its efforts in addressing the needs of people with mobility challenges in accessing primary care. 

Dr. James Milligan who leads the team at the Mobility Clinic says, “Literature has shown that people with physical disabilities sometimes not only have a hard time getting into a family doctor’s office but may not receive the same level of basic care that many able-bodied people do.” 

The Mobility Clinic’s goal is to identify and provide any additional care that patients with mobility challenges need, whether that’s using a more accessible examination room with an adjustable examination table, mechanical lift or allowing more time for assessments. The clinic is fully accessible from its entrance with power doors and a wheelchair elevator, to the exam room with specialized equipment including a wheelchair scale all designed to make care accessible and barrier free. 

Since the clinic was established in 2010, it has served more than 600 patients with physical disabilities - spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, stroke or arthritis. The multi-disciplinary team includes family physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, a chiropractor, optometrist, receptionists, community advocates and learners (family medicine residents and medical students).  

As a result of the Mobility Clinic’s unique model, it has received the following awards: 

  • Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO) Bright Lights Award 2014 for creating a flexible clinic for mobility problems 
  • Ontario College of Family Physicians 2014 Award of Excellence for the exceptional service the Mobility Clinic provides to the community 
  • College of Family Physicians of Canada Bruce Halliday Award for Care of the Disabled 

“What’s important about the awards is the focus on team collaboration. I appreciate the great recognition of the work our team puts in providing care to our patients. I can’t understate the importance of the team in providing this type of care, each professional brings an expertise to the table and together the team works out a plan with the person and caregiver as equals. You really learn a great deal about the knowledge and skills of the other professionals,” says Dr. Milligan. 

Dr. Craig Bauman, chiropractor and mobility clinic project manager using the overhead lift to transfer a patient from her wheelchair to the examining tableOn November 13, 2014, Dr. Milligan was named the recipient of the Bruce Halliday Award for Care of the Disabled because of his contribution to the welfare of disabled patients at the Mobility Clinic. The award, which is supported by the Research and Education Foundation of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, is named in the memory of Dr. Bruce Halliday, a past president of CFPC and OCFP, a federal member of parliament for 20 years and a champion of the disabled in Canada. 

“People with mobility challenges are a marginalized population that we need to take better care of because they face complex medical needs and may use more health care resources and require more hospitalizations. That is why this type of a clinic is very important to address their care needs and at the same time reduce health care costs,” explains Dr. Milligan.  

The Mobility Clinic is funded through a research grant from the Ontario Neutrotrauma Foundation (ONF) and the Schlegel Research Institute for Aging. The Centre for Family Medicine is the lead for the local KW4 Health Link which is supported by the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. 

With its collaboration with ONF, the Mobility Clinic has a special interest in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). The clinic has opened its services to all persons with SCI within the LHIN as part of the commitment to Health Links.  A family physician or nurse practitioner can refer a patient with SCI to the clinic for general assessment (annual physical exam) or a specific need such as Spasticity. The Mobility Clinic does the assessment and sends a report back to the referring practitioner and thus supports the practitioner and patient while maintaining the relationship that patient has with their normal caregiver. Referral forms can be found on the CFFM website, or call 519-570-3008, fax 519-570-0043

Dr. Milligan’s vision is for the clinic’s model to be replicated across the province. “We want to increase capacity and show the effectiveness and efficiency of a mobility clinic in other areas of the province,” he said.  Highlighting the benefits of a mobility clinic, the team has done presentations at numerous conferences in the province and has produced a number of research publications. 

PHOTOS: 

Dr. James Milligan

Dr. Craig Bauman, chiropractor and mobility clinic project manager using the overhead lift to transfer a patient from her wheelchair to the examining table

For more information:

Dr. Craig Bauman

Chiropractor and mobility clinic project manager
1187 Fischer-Hallman Road, Suite 623, Kitchener, Ontario
Telephone: 519 570 3008
E-mail: Dr. Craig Bauman
craig.bauman@family-medicine.ca