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Research and Innovation in 2021: A Year in Review


Strengthening Our Partnerships

More than ever, it is collaboration and partnerships that drive us forward. After many years of work between investigators at Bruyère and Carleton University, a formal partnership between our institutions was established to serve strategic work in health technology, coupled with a joint partnership with Best Buy Health and AGE-WELL to maximize on research that supports aging in place for older adults.

Our affiliation with the University of Ottawa has led to upcoming opportunities with the newly minted Music and Health Research Institute to explore the intersection of music and health, and to launch a new educational series on health, law, and policy. Bruyère Research Institute continues to work on an international stage, housing the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Knowledge Translation and Health Technology Assessment in Health Equity, spearheading international webinars on capacity building to support researchers and policymakers in this area.

Long-Term Care Leadership

While navigating the second year of the pandemic, a surge of research targeted the many challenges faced in the long-term care sector. Researchers at Bruyère launched a pan-Canadian study on the COVID-19 immune response of residents, caregivers, and workers in long-term care homes, with preliminary findings already highlighting the disparity in antibody response in caregivers and workers compared to residents. Weaker responses in older adults, especially over 80, affirms the importance of ongoing research into the industrial and environmental design of homes and how optimization of infection prevention and control practices can protect aging Canadians.

Numerous researchers and their teams worked on changing long-term care for the better, across social, physical, and clinical sides of care. Bruyère’s research has addressed gaps in medication management, such as Barbara Farrell, PharmD, who explores the implications that multiple prescriptions can have on older adults. Dr. Peter Tanuseputro opened the dialogue on palliative and end-of-life communication and planning for patients and families, and the importance of family and care partners to the psycho-social and physical care of residents, as James Conklin, PhD, elaborates on in embedding compassion within the designated care partner program.

Advancing Palliative Care

As a critical part of Bruyère’s services, palliative care is a dedicated focus area of our research. Funding of $2.5 million toward the Pan-Canadian Palliative Care Research Collaborative will help 14 projects across the country tackle the most pressing needs in palliative and end-of-life care, while another $1.4 million was invested in a remote symptom-monitoring app to increase timely interventions for palliative care and reduce emergency department visits.

The Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation at Bruyère has once again supported the Communicating at End-of-Life training program, pivoting to All-In Palliative Care: The Team Approach to Long-Term Care virtual training session to help teams with resident-centered palliative care, integrating research and learning from palliative projects over the years at the Research Institute. 

Many Bruyère researchers are already engaged with critical questions in palliative care delivery, sharing the latest findings in the latest Bruyère TALKS Research webinar series, including when to initiate palliative care so patients are receiving the right care at the right time, what a hospital-to-home transition can look like for patients who want to spend their final days at home with their loved ones, and what patient-centered care means in delirium management.

Award-winning People and Projects

As always, we owe our success to the phenomenal people at Bruyère and the Research Institute. We welcomed the appointment of Dr. Frank Knoefel as the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind - Bruyère Research Institute Chair in Primary Health Care Dementia Research, who has dedicated many years as both a researcher and physician at Bruyère, supporting those living with dementia and their caregivers with smart apartment technology.

Many other investigators were recognized at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine’s Awards of Excellence, including Dr. Peter Tanuseputro, Amy Hsu, PhD, and Vivian Welch, PhD, for their outstanding work in health research. In addition to celebrating these individuals, Bruyère was recognized by the CAN Health Network with the Disrupter of the Year Award for the commitment to innovation and success in implementing transformational tools in the health care sector.

With Thanks, We Look Forward to 2022

It is exciting to see our capacity grow each year, with new and familiar faces joining the Research Institute as investigators. This year, we welcomed new researchers with a broad range of expertise in palliative and spiritual care, wound care, virtual care and assessments, and driving and cognition in aging. Welcome Sanya Bahraini, PhD, Dr. Katerina DeZeeuw, Dr. Paul Hébert, Dr. Anne Monahan, and Arne Stinchcombe, PhD!

As we reflect on 2021, we thank all our researchers, staff, and learners who have brought unwavering commitment and compassion to their work at the Bruyère Research Institute as we continue to navigate the impacts of COVID. As we move to the new year, we look forward to all the opportunities ahead!