From left to right: Deb Gunther-Hansen, Rikia Trischuk, Leanne Sargent, Giselle and Harper Venne, and Dr. Pat Blakley.

Health care team eases access to care for kids in La Ronge

There’s one thing Dr. Pat Blakley always does before she travels to La Ronge.

By Christine Spetz

“I go to Coles and buy books,” said the pediatrician who specializes in developmental pediatrics. This branch of medicine treats children who are at risk of, or have been diagnosed with, physical and intellectual disabilities ranging from mild developmental delays in walking to cerebral palsy or Down syndrome.

Dr. Blakley is part of an interdisciplinary team that includes a physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech language pathologist who travel to La Ronge throughout the year to provide care to patients in their home community. This year, they hope to add a psychologist to their team.

“Having all of these clinicians on the team really provides a more holistic view of the child,” said Dr. Blakley. “I like to think it’s a one-stop-shop for the families.”

Once a month for eight months of the year, Dr. Blakley travels to La Ronge to offer clinics to patients and their families who live in La Ronge and surrounding area, including Pelican Narrows and Deschambault Lake. For three of the eight visits, she is accompanied by her interdisciplinary team.

“I’ve seen how challenging it can be for families to come to Saskatoon,” said Dr. Blakley. “La Ronge is 4.5 hours away and Pelican Narrows is six hours away. Coming that distance with a child who may have significant needs and equipment can be difficult. Bringing our services to La Ronge is helping families access our services. It’s more patient and family centred."

Read more on the Saskatchewan Health Authority's news site.