Support for Researchers

Many more humane, more effective innovative practices stem from research. That is why the Vitæ Foundation reserves a portion of its funds to support research projects which are submitted to it.  The Foundation has established a wonderful partnership with the Research Centre on Aging, which each year holds a clinical research contest for staff and physicians. Whether identifying a clinical practice issue or testing a new procedure or tool, professionals can benefit from the expertise of a researcher to carry out their projects. "Without the Foundation, such monitoring would not be possible," noted Véronique Boutier, an executive scientific assistant at the Research Centre on Aging.

Thanks to a research project funded by the Vitæ Foundation, the oral health of residents at the residential centres in Sherbrooke has improved considerably over the past two years. Photographed: Dentist Sylvie Potvin, Beneficiary Attendant Brigitte Michaud, and Nurse Maryse Lemay.

Oral health:  an example

The recent implementation of a tool to improve the oral health of the residents of the four residential centres of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS exemplifies this leverage effect. Based upon the finding that there are only 2 dentists for 750 patients - most with cognitive disorders, hence dependent on receiving personal care and hygiene - a research idea, followed by a research project, was borne and eventually resulted in the adoption of new practices.

To validate her idea, Dentist Sylvie Potvin, supported by Dentist Suzanne Bourque, initially needed the backing of the Vitæ Foundation to propose a research project ($5,000). Potvin was then paired with Researcher Hélène Payette, who shared her knowledge and the methods required to set up a tightly knit research project, of which the objective was to develop and to implement an oral health assessment tool. 

The project, led by dentists with the support of Prof. Payette, was submitted to the Vitæ Foundation for approval. A total of $15,000 was attributed, which also enabled the evaluation of the clinical follow-up tool both quantitatively and qualitatively. Thanks to the evidence thus gathered, the project was implemented successfully. It is estimated that 61% of residents lodged now have good oral health compared to 9% in 2013. In some care units, that number rose to 95%. "This is a concrete example of how research can contribute to improving both services and the quality of life of users" .

"This is a concrete example of how research can contribute to improving both services and the quality of life of users. The results surpassed our expectations. Nurses and beneficiary attendants feel more valued in their roles thanks to the tool and the training they received. The Order has retained the tool for dentists. The method is now taught at the CEGEP's nursing school. Everybody won in this case," said Véronique Boutier.

A French version of this document was published in La Tribune during the annual fundraising campaign.

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