As the Canadian population continues to grow older, demand on long-term care services will change. The number of older adults who require access to help with daily living and monitoring their health is increasing and the number of professionals practicing in long-term care, who are able to provide the proper care required, does not match.
Dr. Roslyn M. Compton is working with a group of individuals, including researchers, health-care providers, resident/family partners, and collaborators, whose shared goal is to create innovative models of care that will improve the quality of life and outcomes for residents living in long-term care. Specifically, they are looking at ways to ensure quality care in the right place, at the right time, by the right person is provided.
“Our work is building on a current study within six long-term care homes in Saskatchewan,” said Dr. Compton. “We are using the knowledge we gain through that study to now collaboratively work with long-term care residents, families, community members and stakeholders to propose innovative models of care to trial in long-term care homes.”
Dr. Compton describes the issue with the current model of care in long-term care as follows. “Residents of long-term care often have multiple complex needs. Access to primary care for those conditions, which is essential to quality of life, is limited by the residents’ physical or psychosocial factors and the skill-set and resources of the care team. Often times, residents become unwell and are transferred to the emergency department when necessary primary care within the care home cannot be provided. Transferring residents to the emergency department is common, costly and is often associated with negative outcomes. Unnecessary transfers to the emergency room and hospitalization for residents living in long-term care can be disorienting, distressing and aggravate pre-existing conditions.”
Resident, family and carer-driven approaches is one way to change the current model of care. “Emerging evidence supports the positive role of nurse practitioners in reducing the use of external health services, decreasing rates of transfer and admission to hospital, and decreasing length of stay post-transfer for residents of long-term care,” states Dr. Compton. “The increased presence of nurse practitioners in long-term care is just one addition to the provider team that we are considering, but whatever model of care we end up proposing, resident-centered care is our priority.”
The title of Dr. Compton’s team project is Optimizing quality of life for older adults living in long-term care: Linking health care provision and outcomes. The project has received a Catalyst – Patient-Oriented Research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her team includes: Dr. Roslyn M. Compton (Nominated Principal Investigator), and co-investigators Janice Berger, Erin Boyce, Dr. Brittany Ellis and Marilee Lowe. Also included are on team are Vanessa Ripley, Marilyn Barlow, Cole Fraser, Catharina Germs, Ross Mckay, Helen Riggs, Candace Skrapek, Dr. Veronique Boscart, Dr. Vera Caine, Dr. Allison Cammer, Dr. Alison Craswell, Dr. Natasha Hubbard Murdoch, Dr. Paulette Hunter, Janet Luimes, Jane McPhee, and Dr. Erin Yakiwchuk.