The population of Newfoundland and Labrador is aging. A large number of the province’s seniors are spread across vast rural and remote areas. As it stands, our health care system is challenged to sustain caring for seniors while they remain living at home. Many are forced to leave their communities for assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Dr. Stephen Bornstein is a professor and director of Memorial University’s Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research (NLCAHR). He’s convinced that with more support in their own communities some of these seniors could continue to live at home instead.
In an attempt to address the needs of seniors throughout the province in an effective, yet cost efficient manner, the Department of Health and Community Services turned to Dr. Bornstein and NLCAHR for advice. Using their Contextualized Health Research Synthesis Program (CHRSP), NLCAHR examined the existing research on strategies that may help seniors remain at home, in their own communities, for as long as possible. This concept is known as “Aging in Place.”
According to Dr. Bornstein, the program starts with identifying the right question. From there, a team consisting of a lead expert, researchers, clinicians and staff from the health system is formed to address the question. After perusing all the research literature available, the CHRSP team does a systematic review of their findings. Then they present their results to key decision makers. Contextualizing — placing the research in the context of Newfoundland and Labrador — is key to determining which results are appropriate for use within our health care system. It also allows policy makers to better discern and implement these findings when shaping public policy.
Dr. Bornstein and the CHRSP team examine a wide variety of issues faced by this province, from obesity to diabetes, flu vaccinations to chronic disease management, youth treatment services to senior citizen care. Using only the best existing health care research from around the world, CHRSP provides information to policy makers to help clarify what works, what doesn’t work and what can be applied in Newfoundland and Labrador. Together with the leaders of this province, NLCAHR aims to positively change the health care system, one policy at a time.