Better care for seniors through better use of research knowledge
Older adults with Alzheimer's disease and other age-related dementias form the majority of nursing home residents; a frail and vulnerable population, their needs are complex and the issue of how best to maintain their quality of life is a challenging one. While researchers routinely conduct and publish studies covering many aspects of health care—including long-term residential care—research knowledge may not be integrated into standard practice for decades.
Dr. Carole Estabrooks, Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation at the University of Alberta, studies how we can more effectively translate research knowledge on elder care into everyday health care practice. Conducting studies in a number of acute care, home care and pediatric care settings, Dr. Estabrooks focuses the majority of her research on long-term residential care settings, emphasizing quality of life improvement for older adults in nursing homes.
Recognizing that change at the point of care—where the system touches the patient—requires more than simply changing provider behavior, policy or culture, Estabrooks and her research team use an integrated knowledge translation approach to target whole system change, bringing together researchers, knowledge users, decision makers and other stakeholders from provincial and national agencies.
Together with her team, Estabrooks studies how organizational context influences the use of knowledge, how the use of best practices affects patient and caregiver experience, how quality improvement methods can be used to mobilize knowledge and how best to sustain and spread healthcare innovations.