Canadian Frailty Network and Perley Health announce award for outstanding early career researcher
Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) and Perley Health are proud to have collaborated to co-fund an early career researcher (ECR) as part of the 2022 Springboard Grants Program – Early Career Researcher Competition.
Dr. Jennifer Bethell, an Affiliate Scientist at the KITE Research Institute, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network, is the recipient of the co-funded ECR award for her project titled: Empowering Ontario’s long-term care residents to shape the place they call home.
An epidemiologist, Dr. Bethell uses large health administrative and survey datasets for various research topics, while also prioritizing patient engagement in research. Her interests are in the fields of mental health, dementia, injuries and prescription medication use, as well as research related to social connection, long-term care (LTC) and older adults.
These interests led Dr. Bethell to explore how she—alongside members of the LTC community—could transform the culture of LTC homes from being institutionally based to person-centred, where residents are the ones involved in shaping their home and care experience. “I am really pleased to be working with the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils on this project,” said Dr. Bethell. “This partnership will help to ensure that every part of the work is informed by the needs and perspectives of people living and working in long-term care homes.”
The goal of the 2022 Springboard Grants Program – Early Career Researcher Competition is to help ECRs build skills and knowledge, and provide a foundation upon which they can develop early-stage research programs such that they are competitive for future larger funding competitions. The collaboration between CFN and Perley Health specifically focused on funding research that aimed to improve the lives of older adults and/or Veterans living with frailty in long-term care.
Speaking to the impact the award will have on her work, Dr. Bethell shared, “As an early career researcher, this grant from the Canadian Frailty Network and Perley Health is so important. It gives me the opportunity to build relationships with people who live and work in long-term care homes – and the organizations who represent them. These partnerships are critical for research to have real impact in peoples’ lives.”
New legislative requirements for LTC homes in Ontario came into force in April 2022 in the form of the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021. The Act increased Residents’ Councils powers and scope of influence, and mandated LTC licensees to formalize the process of resident engagement in quality improvement and operational planning.
This is where Dr. Bethell’s research will prove to be significant, as LTC homes seek support with implementation. Her work in LTC homes and partnership with the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils will support implementation of aspects of the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021. With nearly 200,000 Canadians living in over 2,000 LTC homes across the country, Dr. Bethell’s focus on patient engagement and person-centred outcomes is timely, as residents seek opportunities for meaningful activity, including making contributions to their homes and communities.
Dr. Bethell’s Empowering Ontario’s long-term care residents to shape the place they call home project will take place over the course of 18 months and aligns seamlessly with the missions of both CFN and Perley Health, which are to improve the care of older adults living with frailty and to achieve excellence in the health, safety and well-being of Seniors and Veterans, respectively.
To advance the care of older adults living with frailty through applied, practical research and knowledge transfer, Perley Health established Canada’s first Centre of Excellence in Frailty-Informed Care in 2019. The Centre of Excellence honours Perley Health’s longstanding commitment to research, learning and continuous improvement, and to delivering ever-greater value to the healthcare system and the community. The CoE leads and participates in innovative initiatives that advance quality of care, along with relevant research and knowledge translation.
Canadian Frailty Network (CFN)
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