Hooray! After years of work, a pile of effort, and definitely some tears on my part, we have secured some new funding for this program! YAY!
Thanks to the Government of Canada's Emergency Community Support Fund, and the United Way (Alberta Capital Region, to be precise!), we've been awarded funds to deliver our Tele-Rehab 2.0 services to three supportive living facilities in Alberta, all run by the Evergreens Foundation. I'd like to tell you a bit more about the project, and how we'll be helping Albertans out during this second wave of COVID.
We'll be setting up systems in Evergreens Foundation supported living facilities in Hinton, Edson, and Grande Cache. Residents of these facilities are pretty far away from Edmonton, and the specialist expertise that we offer. But this project isn't just connecting residents to specialist rehab care - we're branching out yet again!
Because of the risks that COVID-19 poses to our senior population, many seniors have been isolating for over 9 months, and putting off receiving treatment that could help them relieve pain or improve function. At the Evergreens facilities, they don't have any physios on staff (which is the case for many seniors facilities across the province), so to receive physio care, residents have to leave their home facility. This is just too risky for some people right now. But we found a way to help! Through this grant, we are going to be providing basic physio services, as well as specialist services, to the residents of these three Evergreens facilities.
"But Emily," you might be asking, "If Evergreens doesn't have any physios on staff, how will you be supporting the patients in-person? Your regular Tele-Rehab 2.0 assessments require a physio to be in the room with the patient. What are you going to do?" That is a great question! But rest assured, we've thought of everything.
We will be working with a Registered Nurse (her name is Margo, and she's pretty much the best person ever) to support the patients in their Tele-Rehab assessments! This is really exciting for the future of virtual care, because it is a lot easier to find a nurse in some rural communities than it is to find a physio. Once we prove that a nurse can work, we'll be able to implement Tele-Rehab 2.0 in all sorts of communities across Alberta, and bring rehab care closer to everyone's homes!
We get to help at least 25 people with this project. That's at least 50 appointments! And we only have 3 months to do it - our funding ends on March 31, 2021!! So we definitely need some kind of luck sent our way.
It's a weird time to be in research - our days are filled with scary, overwhelming news one minute, and then fantastic, life-is-moving-forward news the next. But our team is so blessed to be working in a field that can directly impact people's lives during this pandemic, and we are so very grateful that we can make a difference.
As 2020 draws to a close, Tele-Rehab 2.0 is going to take a *much-needed* break. But I, for one, cannot wait to see what we can accomplish in 2021!
Wishing all of our readers, collaborators, and supporters a very happy holiday season!