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22. Partnering for impact: Strengthening pandemic preparedness in long term care

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the health and care of older adults, with devastating consequences for residents and staff in long-term care (LTC) homes across Canada. In response, the leadership teams of both Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) partnered to leverage complementary yet distinct mandates and strengths to respond to urgent needs, including facilitating the use of high quality, real-time, actionable evidence regarding pandemic preparedness in LTC. 


The outcome was a strategic, responsive, and innovative partnership that brought together subject matter experts, researchers, funders, quality improvement and patient safety experts, long-term care homes, residents, families, and health system leaders. HEC and CIHR developed a “fund, follow and support” approach that allowed rapid deployment of supports focused on spreading promising practices for pandemic preparedness, while building cultures of continuous quality improvement and strengthening engagement with residents, families and essential care partners. Simultaneously, Implementation Science Teams were tasked with gathering timely evidence regarding how the interventions worked, in what settings and why, to best inform decision making and future initiatives. The program has brought together 22 Implementation Science research and almost 100 LTC and retirement homes across 10 provinces. Leveraging over $3M in research funding and the collective capacity of stakeholders, over 14,000 LTC residents have been impacted.  


This partnership has demonstrated how existing system resources and strengths can be used in innovative ways to improve health outcomes. By leveraging their collective resources, mandates, partners and leadership capacity, HEC & CIHR were able to respond more quickly, reach more individuals and generate greater results. In addition, the pan-Canadian nature of both these organizations situated this partnership to achieve true system impact from coast to coast to coast. Critical to this innovative work was the engagement of residents and families throughout all stages of program design, delivery and evaluation. 


To address complex system challenges, we must identify how to best use our collective resources to improve the resident, family and workforce experience, while advancing the best possible health outcomes for all.



Dr. Rick Glazier - Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research



Dr. Jane Rylett - Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Dr. Jennifer Zelmer - Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare Excellence Canada

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