What do paediatric palliative care and isolation among seniors have in common? Both will be the focus of new initiatives created through VHA’s Research Fellowship program, delivered in partnership with University Health Network (UHN), to improve clients’ experiences and outcomes.
The VHA-UHN Research Fellowship program launched in 2017 giving two VHA service providers a year to explore and execute a solution to a health care challenge. This summer, Tandiwe (Tandi) Betani and Nadine Narain were named 2018’s Fellowship winners.
Tandi, a VHA Registered Nurse, will channel her passion for improving children’s well-being into a project focused on palliative care nursing. “There is a gap in the literature and resources to effectively equip community-based paediatric nurses to engage clients and family caregivers in a way that’s effective, meaningful and appropriate to improve the palliative/end of life care experience,” says Tandi. Her project—which includes creating a virtual library of resources for nurses— aims to improve awareness, best practice and knowledge of nurses working with paediatric clients to improve care at this critical stage of a child’s and family’s life.
Occupational Therapist Nadine plans to expand VHA’s volunteer program and address seniors’ social isolation and loneliness through her fellowship project. Nadine envisions programs such as friendly home visits geared to the seniors’ interests, including playing games, crafts, physical activities or simple conversation. She hopes to enhance clients’ quality of life and help them feel more included and engaged in meaningful activities.
Both fellows look forward to the possibilities of improving care. “The Fellowship provides an excellent opportunity to be more involved in a quality improvement initiative that impacts both clients and service providers,” says Nadine. For Tandi, “This is an opportunity for me to do something I am passionate about and be able to learn something new at the same time.”