Rural Geriatrics


We would like to welcome you to the page for Rural Geriatrics in the Champlain LHIN on the Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario’s website.   First, a  bit of background:

The Champlain LHIN covers a wide and diverse area,  including the national capital, and covering a geography that is otherwise mostly rural.

  • Champlain includes 1.3 million people, which is 10% of Ontario’s population:
  • 65% live in the large urban centre of Ottawa, 15% live in medium or small population centres, and 20% live in rural areas. [i]

Given that about 10% of the elderly population are considered frail, we can estimate that there are approximately 11,700 frail elderly in the city of Ottawa and 6,700 living in the more rural areas.[ii] The frail elderly suffer from physical and/or mental disabilities that may interfere with the ability to independently perform activities of daily living. They are at risk of  functional decline, falls and infections, and have poorly managed diseases such as congestive heart failure and diabetes. Some of these events are preventable and most patients would have improved qualty of care with  better, more coordinated overall care, including comprehensive geriatric assessments.

Within Champlain the highest rates of chronic conditions of arthritis, asthma, COPD, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, mental health, substance abuse and dementia are observed in more rural areas (specifically Renfrew County, Prescott-Russell and Cornwall).[iii]

Specialized geriatric services including geriatric care, home care and community support services are designed to assist the frail elderly and caregivers to live at home in a safe and supportive environment for as long as possible.

Frail Elderly Patient graphic

The Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario (RGPEO)  was funded to serve the Ottawa Hospitals and the community area within the Ottawa region. They have a very important role in academic area as part of the University of Ottawa education, research and training. They also have a clinical role in hospital acute geriatric units as well as day hospitals. From the beginning, the RGPEO engaged themselves in supporting the rural areas outside Ottawa with limited resources including case reviews of community geriatric assessments and geriatric clinics in both Western  and Eastern Champlain.

Champlain GA Clinics in rural Areas map

A number of years ago, the Regional Geriatric Program joined the Regional Geriatric Psychiatry Program in establishing the Regional Geriatric Advisory Committee (RGAC), a forum for system level planning working with the Champlain LHIN.  Both the Western and the Eastern Champlain sub-regions put in place a system network under the RGAC to become an organized voice for rural Champlain.

To support the desire for an organized voice for rural Champlain, the idea of creating a space where health service providers could exchange ideas and share information on education, new programs and systems issues was brought forward.

If  you would like to join our Champlain Rural Geriatrics Network please send an email to:

Eastern Champlain:  Dr. Renée Arnold


Western Champlain: Joanne King


[i] Champlain LHIN Local Environmental Scan, Spring 2016, page 6.

[ii] These numbers to be verified.  Estimates based on 2011 Census for Ottawa – rural areas’ total population of 416,609 calculated by subtracting Ottawa population of 883,391  from 1.3M total Champlain population .  Frail population for Ottawa based on 10% of over 65 taken from 2011 Census for Ottawa (10% of 116,590 = 11,659).  For rural areas, estimate for frail elderly is based on assumption of 16% of total rural population over 65 (as per Champlain Scan, page 7.) and then 10% taken (16% of 416,609 = 66,657; 10% of 66,657 = 6,666).

[iii] Champlain LHIN Local Environmental Scan, Spring 2016, page 29.