In 2017 at the age of 77, Sally O’Brien faced a tough decision. Not only were her coronary arteries almost completely blocked, she also had emphysema and an aneurysm in her aorta. “I knew that if I didn’t have surgery, I could have a major heart attack and much bigger problems, but I was also afraid I might not survive the surgery.” While some advised her that coronary artery bypass surgery was too risky given her age and other health problems, Dr. Greg Hirsh determined otherwise. The Halifax cardiac surgeon and his team thoroughly assessed Sally’s fitness for the surgery using sensitive tools for measuring fitness versus frailty developed at Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Learning from the leaders in progressive eldercare: a knowledge exchange with Denmark
The aroma of fresh-baked bread wafted through the corridors of the nursing home in Horsens, Denmark, as the Canadian visitors marvelled at the open-concept kitchen, herb and vegetable gardens, open-to-the-public restaurant and library, and other remarkable features of this leading-edge seniors’ care facility. In keeping with a mandate to learn from international partnerships, Canadian Frailty Network mobilized a group of Canadian healthcare leaders, researchers and clinicians to visit Denmark in May 2018. Their goal was to see first-hand why Denmark is widely recognized as a world leader in providing effective healthcare and practical living support to its older citizens, and to consider how Danish approaches might be translated to the Canadian context.
Get fit for surgery: Research aims to prevent post-op complications and disabilities in older people with frailty
Imagine you are 75 or 80 and facing a major surgery. Are you confident in your ability to stay strong and recover quickly from the procedure? Or, are you worried the operation will leave you weak and unable to get around in your day-to-day life? Research led by Dr. Daniel McIsaac set out to help older adults living with frailty get stronger before surgery by offering them a well-rounded pre-op exercise program with weekly phone calls from the research team.
Initial funding from CFN has led to many researchers securing larger follow-on application-based research funding from various federal and provincial funding agencies as well as from private not-for-profit groups. Relatively small amounts of CFN funding has led to a multiplier effect (as high as 16-fold leverage) allowing Network Investigators to continue to move key CFN research projects closer to real-world implementation.
Canadian Frailty Network funded a study by Drs. Todd Lee and Emily McDonald of McGill University Health Centre. The investigators created MedSafer, an electronic application, to identify deprescribing opportunities for older patients (aged 65 and older) when hospitalized.
Stemming from a CFN Catalyst Grant in 2014, the Nav-CARE program is being adapted and tailored across diverse social and geographic contexts across Canada with volunteers primarily based within hospice who are connected to primary care services through follow-on funding.