A research program with nearly $1-million in funding is underway in B.C.’s Okanagan region and Alberta to look at ways to improve the care of seniors when sudden health issues force them into a hospital.
The “Older Persons’ Transitions in Care (OPTIC)” research team includes Colin Reid, assistant professor of human kinetics at UBC’s Okanagan campus, working with principal investigator Greta Cummings, professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, and lead decision maker Joanne Konnert, chief operating officer for the Okanagan area of the Interior Health Authority.
The study will take place in Edmonton, Alberta, and Kelowna, B.C., involving emergency departments, residential care facilities and the emergency medical services used to transfer the residents.
“The primary purpose of this research is to improve care for elderly residents in nursing homes, but also to reduce stress on residents, their families, staff, and system resources. At the same time, we intend to provide evidence to improve management of these transfers,” says Reid, co-leader of the B.C. Network for Aging Research.
“An important part of this research is to develop and test a practical tool to assess transition success, in terms of quality of care and avoidable complications,” says Reid, who is joined on the project by UBC Okanagan co-investigators Joan Bottorff, Carole Robinson and Meredith Lilly.
The team will look at how organizational factors in nursing homes, pre-hospital transport services, and emergency departments influence the success of elderly making the transition to and from hospital at both the Kelowna and Edmonton hospital sites.
This three-year research project is funded by $350,000 from the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s Partnerships for Health System Improvement program, and $630,780 over three years in partner contributions from the Interior Health Authority, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (now Alberta Innovates, Health Solutions), and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
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