Queen's University

New scientific director focuses on improvement in health care for seniors

 
2013-12-12

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

With a growing population of elderly people in Canada, advances in medical care and technology are critical for the care of the seriously ill, frail elderly. John Muscedere (School of Medicine) is the new scientific director of TVN (Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network), whose mission is to fill unmet research needs for that segment of the population.

New TVN scientific director John Muscedere.

The four identified TVN strategic priorities include: matching care to values, which includes developing an ethical framework for the care of the frail elderly; empowering, engaging and supporting patients and their families and caregivers; improving clinical outcomes; and improving care across the continuum.

“There is not a lot of research in this area of medicine,” says Dr. Muscedere, an associate professor in the Queen’s Department of Medicine and an intensive care physician at Kingston General Hospital. “TVN is something unique to Canada; it’s an organization focused on improving care, improving care outcomes and also supporting families and caregivers through supporting evidence-based practice. ”

Created July 1, 2012 TVN is a not-for-profit research network funded by the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program. The goal of TVN is to position Canada as a global leader in providing the highest quality of care for its aging population. To achieve that goal, TVN supports research that will influence policy and practice and also fill knowledge gaps. The Network is also working to build national and international strategic partnerships.

“Daren Heyland had a vision and that led to our funding,” says Dr. Muscedere. “I want to continue what he started and in five, ten, 15 years I want to see concrete improvements in care for the frail elderly. I want to commission new knowledge and then implement that knowledge. We currently fund 100 researchers and that will continue to grow.”

Funded research projects include a national comparison of end-of-life care in Canada, an international study into how clinicians discontinue breathing machines, equity in access to critical care, and examining the optimal circumstances for starting dialysis in older patients.

“The frail elderly are a population with many medical issues so that’s where the need is,” says Dr. Muscedere. “Researchers have been working in this area in isolation for years. TVN is an organization that can bring together all of these groups in a coordinated effort to improve care of the frail elderly.”

For more information on TVN visit the website.

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