Identifying the needs of nursing
BY LIZ KATYNSKI
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, November / December 2012
There are close to 10,000 Manitobans
living in personal care homes today, and
experts predict the province will have to find
spaces for about 6,000 more within 30 years.
But exactly what kinds of health care will
all these residents need going forward?
Dr. Malcolm Doupe is attempting to
answer that question. He is working on the
first comprehensive review of the needs of
nursing home residents, looking at both the
numbers and the needs of residents in order
to understand how to plan for the future.
Since the 1970s, the Manitoba Centre for
Health Policy (MCHP) has been receiving
administrative data on people going into
personal care homes, including names, ages,
and medical conditions, from Manitoba
Health for research purposes. They have
also acquired clinical data on the health-care
needs of residents from the Winnipeg Health
Region, dating back to 2005.
Doupe, an associate professor in the
Department of Community Health Sciences,
at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of
Medicine, and a senior research scientist
at MCHP, is linking the two sets of data in
order to gain insights into how Manitoba's
aging population can be better served.
The research has the potential to influence
policy, says Doupe. "Linking the data systems
provides us with a rich research environment.
Never before have we had such a clear picture
of the range of needs of those going into
nursing homes," says Doupe. "Policy makers
can look to it when they decide to adjust their
policies and criteria."
Knowing the specific needs of people
going into nursing homes can help
determine better strategies for accepting
people into nursing homes, and once they
get in, the right staffing levels, number and
types of beds, and other supports that will
be needed in order to plan to meet the needs
of an aging population. It will also help to
determine if nursing homes are the right
environment for some people, or if other,
less costly options should be put in place.
As well, Doupe is looking at nursing home
facilities and measuring the quality of care
on an ongoing basis, and he is studying
nursing home residents' use of other
services, including Emergency rooms.
So far, Doupe has found that about
seven to eight per cent of people admitted
into nursing homes may be eligible for
some community-based options, such as
supportive housing. Nursing home residents
themselves have a huge range of needs,
highlighting complexities of providing high-quality
care for these people.
Back to "Research for better health"
Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.
Read the November / December 2012 issue of Wave