News

Improving quality of life for seniors in long term care

  • June 24, 2015
  • News

Improving-quality-of-life-for-seniors-in-long-term-careFinding better ways to care for our seniors is at the heart of a new study which will be led by researchers at the Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences Centre (GERAS) located at St. Peter’s Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). The Centre is a joint initiative of HHS and McMaster University.

The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network’s Emergency Services Steering Committee has announced a grant of $110,000 to fund the Centre’s LIVE (Evaluating Long Term Care Homes; Intravenous Therapy Experience) study over a period of one year in Hamilton and Grimsby.

Traditionally, IV therapies are administered in hospital settings and emergency departments, however, according to LIVE study investigators, this can have a negative impact on the quality of life and health outcomes of seniors. “Research suggests that this IV delivery practice results in unfavorable outcomes for seniors, including a reduction in quality-of-life and a decline in functional status,” explains Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou, Scientific Director of GERAS and professor of medicine, McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. “The LIVE study will look at whether IV treatment in long term care homes will support better outcomes for residents. The study will examine seniors’ overall health outcomes and number of emergency room visits.”

Other members of the study team include Afeez Hazzan, postdoctoral fellow and George Ioannidis, a GERAS scientist. Study partners include: Medical Pharmacies Group Limited (MPGL), the region’s Nurse-Led Outreach Team (NLOT), the HNHB Long Term Care Council, the HNHB Community Care Access Centre, Behavioural Support Ontario (BSO); Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and local emergency departments and geriatricians.

In Ontario, the administration of IV therapy in long-term care homes is fragmented due to poorly coordinated services among health care providers and a lack of an evidence-based pathway for the management of IV therapies for long term care.

The objectives of the study are to develop and evaluate a clinical pathway that will support best practice of IV treatment delivery in long term care in an effort to avoid unnecessary emergency department transfers and hospitalizations. The LIVE study model is based on work by Dr. Mark Loeb, Professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Division Director Infectious Diseases, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Dr. Loeb’s results overwhelmingly showed that a targeted clinical pathway for the treatment of pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections helps to improve quality of care, avoid unnecessary emergency departments visits, promote care equity and reduce costs.

About GERAS

In partnership with St. Peter’s Hospital and McMaster University, the Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS) Centre this centre is strong in its collaborative team-based care delivery with access to leading geriatric medicine specialists and psychiatrists, interprofessional teams, and a concentrated ambulatory practice. The GERAS Centre is committed to educating and empowering seniors to regain and retain independence and to manage their health through active participation in their care. These new models of care engage family members and build capacity for support within the community. The experts at St. Peter’s are also dedicated to advancing health care education for the present and next generation of health care professionals. Through innovative research the GERAS Centre will close the gap between knowing and doing to contribute to improved quality of life for seniors.

For information:

Branka Vidovic

Research Administration, Hamilton Health Sciences

905.521.2100 ext. 74610

vidovicb@hhsc.ca

Lillian Badzioch

Hamilton Health Sciences

905-521-2100 ext. 76090

badzioch@hhsc.ca