MONCTON, N.B. – An innovative research project supported by ResearchNB will be expanded to include as many as 16 communities later this year.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to Nursing Home Without Walls and it’s making an incredible difference in the lives of participants,” said the project’s founder, Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard, PhD. She’s a professor of nursing at the Université de Moncton and also serves as the institution’s Research Chair in Population Aging and as director of its Centre on Aging. “Participant surveys continue to show high levels of satisfaction, increased access to community services, greater levels of socialization and decreased loneliness, and an increase in feelings of security in their home and community.”
Dupuis-Blanchard says ResearchNB helped make critical connections that led to the success and ongoing growth of the initiative.
“From the beginning, ResearchNB has supported the collaboration required between researchers, government and industry partners to effectively launch Nursing Home Without Walls,” she says. “ResearchNB is continuing to work behind the scenes to highlight our impacts, enabling us to increase our efforts to help more New Brunswick older adults.”
ResearchNB is the province’s research and innovation enabler. Created through a merger of the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and BioNB, ResearchNB provides the province’s research sector with critical leadership and support including advocacy, initial funding, connections to potential partners, and the translation of science into economic opportunities. It promotes research excellence and fosters win-win collaborations to drive advancements in patient care, a thriving bioeconomy and increased economic growth.
“Nursing Home Without Walls is just one of the many projects championed by ResearchNB and we’re proud of the way it supports older adults in living healthy lives in their own homes for as long as possible,” said chief executive officer Damon Goodwin. “Our team often uses our experience and knowledge of the research ecosystem to promote win-win collaborations that help researchers propel their work forward. We’re pleased to support Nursing Home Without Walls in this way because we know how much it benefits our aging population.”
Nursing Home Without Walls helps older adults living in rural areas to age in place. It was launched in 2019 as a pilot project in four different New Brunswick communities – Inkerman, Lamèque, Hautes-Terres (Paquetville) and Port Elgin – through funding received from the federal-provincial Heathy Seniors Pilot Project and in partnership with the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes. The goal of the initiative is to enable older adults to remain in their homes longer by giving them access to supports and services offered by participating local nursing homes.
The Nursing Home Without Walls project looks different in each community as the services being offered by the participating nursing homes depend on what’s already offered in the community and the needs of the local older adults. Services can include friendly visits by staff, transportation to medical appointments or social events, meals, personal hygiene support or medication management. Nursing homes can also provide health information or connect participants to existing supportive services in their communities. Another goal of the project is to help participating communities become more age-friendly overall.
“It’s a tremendous feeling to be able to make such a positive difference in the community and to be able to effectively address the needs of older adults who were otherwise falling through the cracks,” said Dupuis-Blanchard. “As a nurse researcher, it’s incredible to have been able to identify a need, find a solution, bring it to the attention of policymakers and those in the field, and then see it in action and truly valued. It’s been a humbling experience and I’m so grateful to the nursing homes in the pilot project and our amazing partners who continue to contribute to the project’s success.”
In October, Dupuis-Blanchard will be one of 15 New Brunswick researchers in Ottawa to promote their expertise at the New Brunswick Research and Innovation Showcase. Hosted by ResearchNB and Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin, the evening will spotlight the cutting-edge research happening in the province for some of Canada’s political leaders and other decision makers.