In these podcasts we try to introduce health care challenges, especially the ones dealing with the care of patients living with concurrent chronic conditions. Moreover, we try to discuss the policies we need to adopt to make patient care experience more realistic.
Better Dementia Care: Connecting Science to Action
In this podcast, Ross Upshur interviews Gail Elliot about dementia care and the state of dementia care and how it can measure up to expectations that will provide the kind of care which takes into account the individual’s entirety as a human, focusing on personal narrative, brain, environment, needs, abilities and disease.
In this podcast, Ross Upshur interviews Gail Elliot about dementia care and how it needs to measure up to societal expectations, providing the kind of care that takes into account the individual’s entirety as a human, focusing on personal narrative, brain, environment, needs, abilities, interests and disease. Most importantly they will discuss the importance of helping each person to live with meaning, purpose, joy, higher self-esteem (by enabling abilities), choice and dignity.
In the interview, Gail believes we have enough science, and the ability, to deliver good (non-pharmacological) dementia care. Using research from diverse disciplines, she talks about how the science/the research clearly shows that we can enable the abilities of each individual (combating excess disability that comes from taking over tasks and contributing to disuse), thereby enabling the person with dementia and their families and service providers alike. We need, as she puts it, to borrow all the small bits and pieces of precious science found in the books, academic journals and best practice guidelines and build the basics based on this multidisciplinary evidence that focuses on both the person and the environment, including a team approach that involves organizational support and commitment. These fundaments provide the basics, and “how-tos” of good dementia care.
Gail provides practical examples of how to incorporate science into practice and how to equip care providers for their job. In doing so, those with dementia have a sense of purpose in their daily lives and needs are met (such as boredom, loneliness and lack of success), thus preventing the behaviours commonly seen in dementia, such as agitation, wandering or exit seeking. Rather than thinking of this as “extra work”, carers are equipped with the tools they need – including new ways of thinking – and spend more time enriching the lives of those in their care and spending less time writing reports about the behavioural upsets. Moreover, families are comforted knowing that their loves ones are happier and not only cared for, but enabled, engaged and enriched in their care environments. You might say, with good care, our mission is accomplished.
Gail bases her model on preparing the environment. This involves setting each person up for success, based on understanding the plethora of research that is already available from diverse disciplines. When staff are educated and supported, and share the details related to each person in their care, including their history, and details about their needs, interests, preferences, abilities and each individual’s life story, needs are addressed, and generally, we see higher levels of functioning and enhanced social engagement. The physical environment must look, feel and smell like home, with each space looking like its purpose. The feel of home includes the roles and routines that were familiar to each person with opportunities to be engaged in activities that have been adapted for successful outcomes and things to do, tailored to needs, interests and abilities that are available and accessible throughout each day. The goal is to help each person to be the best he or she can be, and this can only be achieved when individuals, teams and organizations work together (Caspar, Cooke, Phinney, & Ratner, 2016).
Gail Elliot is a Gerontologist, Author, Educator and Dementia Specialist. She retired from McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, in 2012 with the purpose of changing the face of dementia from one of loss to one of enabled abilities.
What it Means to be a Good Academic Citizen – Part 2
The academic research environment is changing and researchers report struggling to adapt in order to be successful. Funding shortfalls are perennial, but what systemic shifts should occur to enable researchers at all career stages to be productive and successful?
Upon publishing “Healthy research ecosystem – healthy researchers? The researcher as an organism of focus within a ‘research ecosystem’” in Academic Matters in Fall 2019 issue, Ross Upshur and Michelle Nelson, convened to discuss themes from their paper as well as a number of other academic matters that have been issues of concern for academics far and wide for a long time.
In the first part of the podcast, Ross and Michelle discussed some of the themes from the paper and the conversation focused on issues such as committee and panel memberships, reviewing manuscripts and grants, research funding, research as a career, training PhD students, self-interest vs. community interest in research, paper citations, academic citizenship, research ecosystem management, ways to retire from clinical practice and research, research culture, and more.
In this second part of the podcast on academic citizenship, Ross and Michelle, explore the opportunities and challenges of academic citizenship in a changing research ecosystem. They also touch upon subjects such as equity within the research ecosystem, gender, career advancement, successful PhD programs, mentorship, being a principal investigator, and much more. These issues are experienced by researchers on a daily basis, whether they are at early-, mid- or late-research-career stages. Furthermore, their conversation highlights a number of pressing issues, including but not limited to, the importance of explicitly training early career scholars as what constitutes a successful research career and extending it to create a culture that values contributions throughout the research life cycle. The entire field of research metrics used for evaluating research performance, (e.g. counting published papers, citations and article level metrics such as the H-index etc.), seems to require rethinking.
Link to "What it Means to be a Good Academic Citizen - Part 1".
What it Means to be a Good Academic Citizen – Part 1
Upon publishing “Healthy research ecosystem – healthy researchers? The researcher as an organism of focus within a ‘research ecosystem’ in Academic Matters in mid-March 2019, Ross Upshur and Michelle Nelson, convened to critique themes from their paper and discuss a number of other academic matters not originally mentioned in the paper but have boggled the minds of many academics far and wide for a long time.
In mid-March 2019, Ross Upshur and Michelle Nelson published “Healthy research ecosystem – healthy researchers? The researcher as an organism of focus within a ‘research ecosystem’” in Academic Matters. The paper, as themselves put it “explores issues of relevance to higher education and is a forum for thoughtful and thought-provoking” discussions and consideration of academia’s future direction. The paper is a response to the ever-changing research environment that researchers find rather difficult to adapt in order to thrive and maintain a solid research. In the podcast, the duo try to discuss some of the subjects mentioned in the report by David Naylor titled: Investing in Canada's Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian Research such as “research ecosystem”, “life-cycle approach” and also elaborate on other relevant subjects that matter most to the academia and researchers alike.
In part one of the podcast, subjects such as committee and panel memberships, reviewing manuscripts and grants, research funding, research as a carrier, training PhD students, self-interest vs. community interest in research, paper citations, academic citizenship, research ecosystem management, ways to retire from clinical practice and research, research culture, and more are all discussed modestly.
Link to "What it Means to be a Good Academic Citizen – Part 2"
Health Leadership Perspectives to Deploy a Seamless Integrated Care for the Older Adults in Catalonia
In this podcast, Ross Upshur, interviews Marco Inzitari, discussing the mechanisms and nuts and bolts of integrated care provided to the elderly population in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Dr. Inzitari is the current President of the Catalan Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology and the Director of Intermediate Care, Research and Teaching of Parc Sanitari Pere Virgili in Barcelona.
In this podcast, Dr. Marco Inzitari gives his first-hand account of the health and social care services provided to the elderly population in Barcelona and Catalonia, and elaborates how these services address the issues of frailty, chronic diseases, loneliness, etc. In doing so, Dr. Inzitari sets an example of a healthcare system that has traversed academic, public and private sectors and even has integrated a coherent and uniform internet-based repository of medical records into the healthcare system to provide a seamless health and social care to its elderly population.
Work and Education
Marco Inzitari, MD, PhD, a specialist in geriatrics, was trained in epidemiology of aging at the Universities of Florence, Italy, and University of Pittsburgh, USA, and in management and leadership at ESADE Business School in Barcelona. He currently serves as the Director of Intermediate Care, Research and Teaching of Parc Sanitari Pere Virgili, and as an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). He is also the PI of the Research on Aging, Frailty and Transitions in Barcelona (RE-FiT Barcelona) part of the Vall d’Hebrón Institute of Research (VHIR). He is the current President of the Catalan Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology. Moreover, Dr. Inzitari serves as an expert advisor for different master-plans related to chronic diseases and integrated care of the Catalan Government, and is part of the Clinical Management Section of the Catalan Society for Healthcare Management and board member of the European Delirium Association.
Being the principal investigator of a number of ongoing publicly-funded research projects, Dr. Inzitari has authored a considerable number of international publications on frailty, cognitive and physical functions in the elderly, and on care models and organization for older adults with chronic conditions. He is also a member of the editorial board of The Frailty and Aging Journal. Here are some of Marco’s publications indexed in PubMed, so far.
“I was there for her”: A Caregiver’s Story
Gordon MacGregor, a member of the Alternate Level of Care Patient and Caregiver Council, in an interview with Ross Upshur reflects upon his personal experience taking care of his wife in a span of nearly 30 years. His experience with the health system is what thousands of patients and family caregivers undergo on daily basis. The interview highlights both positive and not so positive aspects of care and the need to take care of the instances that patients might find rather inconvenient or challenging to overcome.
Mr. Gordon MacGregor has personal experience with ALC as a bereaved caregiver. His devotion to a life taking care of his wife struggling with a severe type of mental disorder throughout the years, as well as his experiences as an advisor for different hospital councils, makes his experience indispensable in helping us understand the caregiver experience.
In his ‘‘Books and Men’’1, Sir William Osler (1849–1919) wrote that “ To study the phenomenon of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all. The same analogy could hold strong in patients and patient caregivers’ relation with the healthcare system and efforts to improve it. Gordon’s experience with the health care system is what Canadians might undergo at some point in their life when they seek professional help to regain their health. To make this experience positive for all of us at all times, stakeholders within and outside the healthcare system may take opportunities like this to examine the nature of patients and patient caregiver experience.
References and footnotes:
1- "Books and Men" in Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (1901)
2- “Justice of the Peace”: This term is named a couple of times in the audio file and it refers to the body of law in Ontario that has the authority to override the decision of a patient with mental illness who refuses to receive medical care and might have the potential to be danger to self or others. In such circumstances, The Justice of Peace can issue a Form 1 which is taken to the police and they act upon it and take the ill person to the hospital. It does not get the patient admitted; that decision is made by the attending physicians in the hospital.
3- “Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest” is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) longest-standing educational outreach program to high school students and it aims to increase awareness among youth of the causes, treatments, signs, symptoms, and interventions for mental illness, including addiction. The program was developed in 1987 by nurse case managers at the former Clarke Institute of Psychiatry—one of the founding partners of CAMH.
4- The names of the hospitals and long-term care facilities that had been named in the podcast file have been replaced by a soft background noise for ethical concerns.
Striving for a Better Healthcare for the Elderly in Canada; An interview with Jane Barratt, the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing
Jane Barratt in an interview with Ross Upshur reflects on different aspects of elderly care and explains how it could be improved in Canada. In the interview, she gives an example of other countries and how they have been successful in laying the foundation for a more robust elderly care.
In this interview, Jane Barratt, the Secretary General of the International Federation (IFA) on Ageing, describes how her interest in roams of care and allocation of services engaged her in the area of ageing and caregiving. She later highlights the sources of the problems that impact decision-making around the allocation of services and says they arise from different understanding and outlooks in the conversations among different health sectors although they all seem to be talking about the same topic. On equitable allocation of services, she exemplifies Australia’s age-care system and compares it to that of Canada and how they are different in this respect.
Jane Barratt is one of the IFA’s 15 international directors. Currently, she runs IFA’s Toronto-based office in Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Sinai Health System. Jane has over 35 years of public and private sector experience in ageing and disability, aged care, public health and community services. Dr. Barratt tries to strengthen relationships between government, NGOs, academia, and industry to influence policy and improve the quality of life of older people. She is a strong contributor to international dialogue on the social, political, cultural and physical environments that impact the lives and human rights of older people. Dr. Barratt represents the IFA at the United Nations Economic and Social Council. For a full bio, please follow this link.
Dr. Barratt is a Churchill Fellow, and she was recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in Canada in recognition of her efforts to enhance understanding of ageing, engage governments and the private sector, and improve the quality of life of older people.
To listen to a public lecture by Jane Barratt published on the University of Western Australia website, please follow this link. The lecture is titled: How to Age Well: creating age-friendly environments to support healthy ageing.
To view a selection of presentations by Dr. Jane Barratt, please follow this link.