Four researchers from Bloomberg Nursing have received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fall Project Grant Competition to investigate a range of topics relating to sleep and wearable technology, pediatric palliative care, and various outcomes associated with cancer diagnoses.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) survivors are among the fastest growing group of cancer survivors in Canada. The diagnoses and treatment of NHL can impact an individual’s quality of life, including but not limited to their physical condition, social and mental well-being, and cognitive abilities. Assistant Professor Samantha Mayo will be exploring ways NHL survivors can be better supported particularly in the first few years following a diagnoses with greater monitoring and more effectively designed care, and will examine how environmental and personal factors may also impact outcomes related to quality of life.
Breast cancers that result from a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation should receive different treatments to increase the chance that a woman will survive, which may include a bilateral mastectomy. In order for women to make treatment decisions, they must know whether they have the cancer-causing mutation. Professor Kelly Metcalfe is investigating a new model of direct genetic testing (DRGT) at the time of cancer diagnosis which offers patients limited to no pre-test discussion with a genetic counsellor, and other resources without the need for an in-person consultation. Metcalfe’s study will evaluate the impact of DGRT on treatment and psychosocial outcomes, compared to women who received rapid genetic testing (RGT) with standard pre and post-test genetic counselling. This research has the potential to develop a sustainable and accessible model of genetic testing at the time of cancer diagnosis and improve patient outcomes.
Teenagers who get less than the recommended 9 hours of sleep per night, are at risk of experiencing difficulties with both their mental health and schooling. Following input from youth, Associate Professor Robyn Stremler and her team developed an intervention to promote sleep in teenagers called SOmNI (Sleep Outcomes mHealth, wearable sensor and Nudging Intervention) which uses a wrist-worn sensor to track sleep, and delivers feedback and suggestions for behavior change, along with real-world (e.g. gift certificates) and virtual (e.g. experience points) rewards. Stremler’s new study will compare a new version of SOmNI that does not use rewards as well as usual care (receiving no information or advice about sleep) to determine whether SOmNI (with and without rewards) improves sleep on school nights and has an impact on decreasing mental health symptoms in teenagers who do have improved sleep.
Pediatric palliative care (PPC) is aimed at reducing suffering and enhancing the quality of life of children living with life threatening conditions and their families. To continually improve the care that is provided, indicators of high-quality care need to be identified and measured. What these indicators are and which ones are important should include input from children and their families. Associate Professor Kimberly Widger’s study will include a panel of children with life-threatening conditions and members of their families (e.g., parents, siblings, grandparents), as well as a panel of researchers, healthcare professionals, and administrators who work in the field of PPC. The panels will be asked to rate the importance of each indicator that has been used in previous research, with a goal of create a “core set” of indicators to inform future research around evaluating quality of care.