Media releases

  • Brock research explores factors keeping long-term ‘alternate level of care’ patients in hospital

    MEDIA RELEASE: May 16 2023 – R0042

    It’s a scene repeated all too frequently: a patient remains in hospital long after they’ve been successfully treated because there’s nowhere for them to go where they’ll be safe and cared for.

    Quinten Carfagnini wanted to know who undergoes this experience and why.

    Through a collaboration between Brock University’s Goodman School of Business, the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and Niagara Health, Carfagnini conducted research on the factors keeping non-acute patients in hospital for more than 30 days.

    “These patients are done with their care, but they’re stuck in the bed that they’re in, which is obviously unfortunate because those who do require treatment need to be able to get into that bed,” says the Health Sciences PhD student.

    Carfagnini and his team collected information from the Ontario Wait Time Information System (WTIS) database on more than 16,000 alternate level of care (ALC) patients who received care in Niagara Health hospitals from September 2014 to September 2019.

    ALC patients are defined as being those “who occupy a bed but do not require the intensity of services provided in that care setting.”

    Carfagnini and his team’s research, published at the end of March, found long-stay ALC patients were more likely to be:

    • male
    • destined for long-term care facilities and supervised or assisted living rather than being sent home
    • requiring specialized bariatric equipment such as lifts, custom doors and heavily braced ceilings
    • requiring specialized feeding services, such as the use of gastric tubes or IVs
    • patients who had expressed physically or verbally disruptive behaviours and may require supports designed to help them with challenging behaviours
    • requiring isolation, in some cases, because they have a specific infection, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus

    “The longest wait times were for those trying to be discharged to long-term care facilities, which previous research has shown,” says Carfagnini. “Our study looked at more personalized patient requirements, such as bariatric or psychological needs that they may require at their discharge destination.”

    Elaina Orlando, Research Manager at Niagara Health (NH) and Adjunct Professor in Brock’s Department of Health Sciences, says the backlog of ALC patients is a “complex problem” involving many stakeholders in health-care systems that are stretched for resources.

    “Quinten’s research has given us a different lens on our particular population experiencing this situation,” she says. “We have this clearer picture of who is in our hospital system and in our beds, and that gives us new ways to think about potential solutions within our control to change as an organization.”

    Professor of Epidemiology Brent Faught, Carfagnini’s supervisor, notes how the research follows legislation passed last year by the Ontario government. Bill 7, More Beds, Better Care Act, 2022 empowers hospitals to transfer ALC patients to a long-term care home that the hospital sources. Patients face a $400 per day fine if they refuse to leave the hospital.

    He says the research partnership enables Niagara Health and Brock to come up with local measures that address the province-wide problem of a shortage of hospital beds.

    “This research and partnership give us a stronger voice in terms of what is actually happening within our own community,” says Faught.

    This Brock-NH partnership is one of the community-engaged research projects to come out of the Goodman School of Business’s Centre for Business Analytics (CBA). The CBA also created a service-learning initiative that connects students and faculty with external partners, including Niagara Health.

    Carfagnini, who also did his Master of Science under Faught’s supervision, had access to data and personnel at NH during his studies. Faught and Associate Professor of Health Sciences Madelyn Law collaborated with CBA’s founding director Anteneh Ayanso on how to further this Niagara Health research.

    Ayanso says he and the team “knew immediately the big opportunity” there was to uncover trends in the “massive” datasets that would help health-care professionals deal with challenges around long-term hospital stays.

    “A partnership like this is so exciting because you hear directly from the people who work with the problem,” says the Professor of Information Systems. He says students such as Carfagnini are able to experience how data analytics theories in the literature make an impact in real life situations.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University or 905-941-6209 

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Federal funding boosts work-integrated learning opportunities for students

    MEDIA RELEASE: May 15 2023 – R0041

    It will be easier than ever for Brock students to participate in the University’s renowned work-integrated learning (WIL) programs after the announcement of new bursary funding.

    More than $500,000 from the Government of Canada, distributed via Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s Innovation Hub (iHub), will support a University-wide bursary to reduce barriers to participating in WIL.

    Students will apply for funding, available on a first-come, first-served basis through Brock’s Co-op, Career and Experiential Education (CCEE) team, to cover traditionally unpaid WIL experiences or approved fees associated with service learning, applied research/community and industry-engaged projects, entrepreneurial work-integrated learning and field placements.

    The government funding is available to Canadian students, and Brock has also contributed financially to ensure international students also receive opportunities to take part.

    Applications will prioritize Indigenous students; racialized Canadians; persons living with a disability; female-identifying or non-binary persons studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics; newcomers to Canada; official language minorities; two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (2SLGBTQ+) students; students living in remote or rural locations; students with low socio-economic status; mature students; and students from refugee pathways.

    CCEE Director Cara Krezek said the funds — part of more than $1.7 million that has been awarded to Brock since iHub funding began in 2021 — and their distribution demonstrate the University’s commitment to making work-integrated learning accessible to everyone.

    “This funding will remove current barriers to WIL and allow us to keep a pulse on what new challenges emerge while also continuing to learn and grow in how we can best support our students,” she said.

    Participating students will be able to expand their skill sets by taking part in a range of new opportunities.

    “We want students to explore their passions and to have better access to previously unfunded experiences,” Krezek said. “And that may mean a stipend for a Sport Management student who secures an unpaid internship, support for a Goodman student completing an industry project with a local business, or help covering the costs for an Earth Sciences student participating in a field course in northern Ontario.”

    Brock’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic Lynn Wells said the bursary will allow the University to further its position as a leader in experiential learning initiatives in Canada.

    “Brock is committed to providing practical learning opportunities to students in all areas of the University that will benefit their future careers and connect them with community partners,” she said. “These new funds will ensure the chance to combine theory and practice is more accessible than ever.”

    Financial support will range from $250 to $1,500 based on the experience and financial cost incurred by the student.

    Projects eligible for funding must take place between May 1 and Dec. 31.

    Members of Parliament Vance Badawey, from Niagara Centre, and Chris Bittle, from St. Catharines, said they were pleased to see the funding opening new doors for students.

    “The valuable workplace knowledge our students acquire today turn into the skills they will use when they become the builders, creators and authors of our future,” said Badawey. “The responsibility of ensuring every student has access to those opportunities belongs to all of us, so I’m very pleased to have worked with Brock University to help bring funding to Niagara and provide support to anyone with an interest in contributing to that future.”

    Bittle said the bursary funds will provide an equal opportunity for all students to explore their career passions.

    “Experiential and co-operative learning opportunities are more important than ever to provide students with the valuable experience they need to be successful,” he said. “I am happy to see this new funding to support Brock University so that a diverse group of students can receive crucial financial support and have a hands-on learning opportunity to develop their professional skills and be well prepared to enter the workforce.”

    To learn more, visit the CCEE website.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

    * Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University or 905-941-6209

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    Categories: Media releases