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Geriatric Day Hospital presents research at national conference – thanks to innovative donor support!

Jennifer Rae
Thursday, October 5, 2017

Geriatric Day Hospital

Members of the Geriatric Day Hospital presented at the 2017 Canadian Geriatric Society Scientific Conference.

Geriatric Day Hospital presents research at national conference – thanks to innovative donor support!

Many seniors living in our community are referred to North York General Hospital (NYGH)’s Geriatric Day Hospital (GDH) for rehabilitation as well as chronic disease and medication management.  

The GDH team noticed almost half of their patients suffered from chronic pain that increased their risk for falls and affected their sleep, mood and ability to manage their daily activities, including exercise. The team started to investigate why pain was so poorly managed in this population and how best to resolve this problem.

“What we learned is that many seniors misunderstand that pain is a normal part of aging,” explains Greta Mah, Clinical Pharmacist. “Another barrier for proper pain management is their fear of becoming a ‘pill taker.’” These misconceptions,  along with the fear that any exercise will aggravate pain, is a devastating combination. “It leads seniors to become less active, which causes further decline in mobility and quality of life,” says Greta.

The GDH team consolidated all evidenced based drug and non-drug treatment (such as relaxation, education, assistive devices, and gentle physical therapy) for a variety of pains, including arthritis, nerve or muscular pain. They utilized the expertise of all team members to manage pain with an interprofessional patient centered care approach. They believed that this strategy would effectively manage challenging chronic pain in the elderly population, but they needed to prove it through applied research. To validate their suspicions, the team seeked support from North York General Foundation through its fully donor funded research program.

The GDH team studied the impact of this innovative collaborative approach to provide individualized treatment to all GDH participants with chronic pain. The team assessed patients before and after the 10-week program, then followed up with them three months later to evaluate if there were any significant improvement.

The results validated the team’s speculations:  not only was the patients’ pain reduced, they also reported improvement in their mood, function and quality of life – with all benefits sustained beyond three months after completion of GDH.

Thanks to this study, the GDH team has fundamentally improved how care is provided. They now use the proven interprofessional patient centered care approach to help seniors in our community manage their pain and maintain their independence. This would not have been possible without donor support.

“Our team is very grateful to donors who support research at NYGH,” says Greta. “They’re helping us make a world of difference in the way that we care for seniors in our community.”

DONATE NOW to support research at NYGH. Or contact Joanne.Murray-Ormandy@nygh.on.ca or 416-756-6915 for more information.

Pictured above (L-R): Dr. Bianca Petrut, Geriatrician, Elder Care Program Lead; Dr. Patrick Chu, Family Physician/Principal Investigator; Roula Mandas, Social Worker; Norma McCormack, Clinical Team Manager of the Medicine and Elder Care Program; Renee Heitner, Physiotherapist; Timmy Olanubi, Registered Nurse; Greta Mah, Clinical Pharmacist/Principal Investigator.