Finding better ways to care for our seniors is at the heart of a new study which will be led by researchers at the Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences Centre (GERAS) located at St. Peter’s Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). The Centre is a joint initiative of HHS and McMaster University.

The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network has announced a grant of $110,000 to fund the Centre’s LIVE (Evaluating Long Term Care Homes; Intravenous Therapy Experience) study over a period of one year in Hamilton and Grimsby.

Traditionally, intravenous therapies are administered in hospital settings and emergency departments, however, according to LIVE study investigators, this can have a negative impact on the quality of life and health outcomes of seniors. ”Research suggests that this IV delivery practice results in unfavorable outcomes for seniors, including a reduction in quality-of-life and a decline in functional status,” explains Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou, Scientific Director of GERAS and professor of medicine, McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. “The LIVE study will look at whether IV treatment in long term care homes will support better outcomes for residents. The study will examine seniors’ overall health outcomes and number of emergency room visits.”

In Ontario, the administration of IV therapy in long-term care homes is fragmented due to poorly coordinated services among health care providers and a lack of an evidence-based pathway for the management of IV therapies for long term care.

The objectives of the study are to develop and evaluate a procedure that will avoid unnecessary emergency department transfers and hospitalizations. The LIVE study model is based on work by Dr. Mark Loeb, Professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Division Director Infectious Diseases, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Dr. Loeb’s results overwhelmingly showed that a targeted clinical pathway for the treatment of pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections helps to improve quality of care, avoid unnecessary emergency departments visits, promote care equity and reduce costs

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