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Canadian Frailty Network - CFN*

$23.9 million for 2012-17
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Canadian Frailty Network

Number of partners
266

Partner contributions
$2.4 million

Headquarters
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Scientific Director
John Muscedere John Muscedere

Board chair
Russell Williams Russell Williams,
President, Innovative Medicines Canada

Improving care for frail elderly Canadians


The opportunity

With a growing population of elderly people in Canada, and continued advances in medical care, the technology and methods of the treatment of the frail elderly and the provision of appropriate end-of-life care is a major issue facing Canada’s health and social care systems. Technologies and treatments have proven extremely beneficial in helping Canadians live longer with chronic disease. Yet there is mounting evidence that their unwanted use at the end of life is associated with worse ratings of quality of life for both patients and families. Many of these technologies and treatments are also expensive. There is a serious and immediate need to improve the care of seriously ill, frail elderly patients through a rigorous evaluation and ethical implementation of health care technologies, and to improve communication and decision-making about the use of these life-sustaining technologies.

How CFN is seizing the opportunity

The Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) is a national initiative to improve the care of seriously ill, frail older Canadians who have significant life-limiting illness and for whom there is a question of what technology or treatment to apply to improve their survival and quality of life or the quality of their death, including end-of-life care. CFN works to break down health silos by facilitating a collaborative and family-centric approach across disciplines and sectors to identify gaps in care and develop solutions to complex questions – across all settings of care – from acute and critical care to community care. Through research and knowledge sharing, and training the next generation to care for this vulnerable population, CFN aims to have an impact in four areas: improved care of the sick elderly; improved efficiency of the health care system; evidence-informed policy and practice; and reduced moral distress for patients, families, and caregivers.

Among the results

  • CFN is working with each province and territory to develop a comprehensive health care “atlas” that describes interactions with the healthcare system through the complete spectrum of end-of-life care.
  • Critically ill patients in six intensive care units are participating in a pilot trial examining the true benefits of probiotics during mechanical ventilation. Positive results would justify the cost and time of a large international study into what could prove to be a simple, easy-to-use, readily available and inexpensive approach to reduce infection rates in critically ill elderly patients worldwide.
  • Patients at four hospitals in Ontario and Alberta are being surveyed to determine the quality of communication between seriously ill patients and their physicians. A knowledge translation project will also benchmark end-of-life care practices for the elderly in primary care.
  • Testing by home care teams in the province of Quebec will examine how a training program for doctors and interprofessional teams can improve the experience of the frail elderly and their families and caregivers in confronting the decision to stay at home or move to a care facility. Home care is a rapidly growing sector and this study will lay the foundation for a national strategy to ensure that no one has to make this difficult decision alone.
  • Malnutrition is often an issue with critically ill elderly upon admission to acute care. A study seeks to improve care and clinical outcomes for these patients through nutrition assessment and treatment by a dietician for those identified to be at risk.
  • Assistive robots are seen as a promising new technology to address the needs of our aging population. A one-year project will conduct on-site user experiments in a long-term care facility with an intelligent socially assistive robot capable of assisting elders in multiple socially and cognitively stimulating activities, both one-on-one and in a group setting.

Connect with CFN


* (formerly known as Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network)

 

News
June 1, 2015
February 27, 2015
February 5, 2015
January 30, 2015
November 28, 2014
November 28, 2014
October 31, 2014
June 2, 2014
April 25, 2014
Features
Training the front line workers who can put research into practice
June 25, 2015
Kelly Kay never thought of herself as a researcher. Yet, thanks to a unique training program offered by the Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network (TVN), the Executive Director of the Seniors Care Network now finds herself finishing a two-year research fellowship and setting her sights on a Ph.D. Her goal is to help her organization, and others like it, better understand how technology can improve the care of seriously ill, frail elderly people, and provide better support for their families and caregivers. Read more
Videos
Watch Video
Fostering End of Life Conversations, Care and Community Among LGBT Older Canadians
September 7, 2016
Watch Video
Sex differences in admission to ICU: exploring the role of social support factors
August 31, 2016
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Interventions to prevent and treat frailty in community dwelling older adults
July 21, 2016
Watch Video
Discharging elders from ED to community: What you need to know
July 6, 2016
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Decision making and communication tools for hospitalized patients
June 15, 2016
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Describing care received by frail elderly patients nearing EOL in Canada
June 1, 2016
Watch Video
Development and testing of a standardized communication forms
May 25, 2016
Watch Video
Frailty measure for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities
May 4, 2016
Watch Video
CFN Webinar: An electronic QOL and practice support system QPSS for older adult care
April 20, 2016
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Engaging Older Adults in Healthcare Research, Planning, and Decision Making
April 19, 2016
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Benchmarking end-of-life care practices for elderly people receiving primary care
April 6, 2016
Watch Video
ASILA simulation prototype on outcomes of frail seniors
March 23, 2016
Watch Video
Clinical tools for nutritional pathway involving hospitalized, older adults
February 24, 2016
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Perspectives on aging and frailty with Dr. Duncan Sinclair
October 8, 2015
Watch Video
TVN – Improving care for the frail elderly
July 4, 2014