Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied & Evaluative Research Unit

The Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research Unit (KLAERU) provides resources and expertise to support clinical, evaluative and translational research at Baycrest. Read the annual report to learn how KLAERU is providing valuable specialized research support for Baycrest clinicians, researchers and educators in one place,  accelerating the development of new programs and treatments for memory and aging well.

Since its launch in October 2013, KLAERU has provided clinical and translational research assistance to Baycrest clinical staff, through the development and implementation of innovative projects, including:

An intervention study to determine the effects of mindfulness-based treatment of dysphoric mood in older adults. Led by Dr. Nasreen Khatri along with Dr. Norman Farb and Janet Murchison, occupational therapist, the 9-member MBSR team consists of clinicians and staff from the Baycrest Mood and Related Disorders Clinic. This dynamic group is interested in examining the changes in well-being associated with an 8-week course on mindfulness training in older adults with health, social, or functional losses. By first organizing and synthesizing MBSR team members’ ideas, the KLAERU unit provided assistance with the development of the comprehensive research protocol. KLAERU team members have additionally offered their expertise in project management, research ethics procedures, and preparation of study-related documents, which contributed to the expedited ethics approval for the MBSR team to implement this study. Currently, members of the KLAERU team are providing support for participant recruitment from the Baycrest community.

A multi-site, clinical study to develop and validate clinical descriptions of mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) from the perspective of AD patients and their primary, informal caregivers. The KLAERU team is making connections between clinical practice and research through its involvement in a multi-site, clinical vignette study led by Dr. Mark Oremus and his team from McMaster University. Dr. Oremus’ team aims to examine whether the general public can provide valid proxy health-related quality-of-life estimates in place of persons with mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The first step in this innovative research program is to develop clinical vignettes of the different AD stages via focus groups of patients and their caregivers, involving collaborations with hospital sites in Hamilton and Toronto including Baycrest. The KLAERU team is working with the Baycrest site collaborator, Dr. Paul Verhoeff, and is providing assistance with the coordination of the project at Baycrest and with the management of intercollegiate relationships. KLAERU’s additional roles in this exciting endeavour include the recruitment of AD patients and caregivers from the Baycrest community and scheduling the focus groups.

An evaluative study to explore the impact of a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to delivering fitness classes on residents and staff. The KLAERU team is bridging clinical practice and research in the Therapeutic Recreation evaluative study. Mara Schwartz, recreation therapist, and Kelly Rose, recreationist, have developed a new fitness program that involves training Personal Support Workers (PSWs) to facilitate exercise programs for residents on the second floor of the Apotex Centre. This provides PSWs with the opportunity to work with residents in a new way. Schwartz and Rose have observed the beneficiary effects of this new and holistic approach to care, and are keen to obtain empirical evidence to support it. To date, the KLAERU team has assisted the Therapeutic Recreation team with the design of a research study that evaluates the effects of the fitness program on residents and unit staff.

Previously, KLAERU has supported the development and implementation of innovative wellness, prevention, education and care projects across the centre. Examples include evaluating:

  • A conversion tool that will facilitate the transition of patients from Baycrest’s Geriatric Treatment and Assessment Unit to the Palliative Care Unit. The tool will also facilitate inter-unit patient evaluations, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and enhancing patient care.
  • A pilot study by Baycrest’s infection prevention and control team to evaluate the effectiveness of a new method of preventing and controlling the spread of MRSA in a geriatric setting.
  • The effectiveness of an interprofessional education and care (IPE/C) toolkit for health professionals and students at Baycrest.