Better Care Needs Integrated Research

Research plays a critical role in discovering and advancing treatments, filling the gaps in medical knowledge, and ultimately, changing the way health care is delivered and experienced. It is a source of ever-evolving evidence-based treatments and practice for patients and health care providers.

Hospitals that engage in research activity that is aligned with their practice have better patient outcomes, even for those who are not participants in studies or trials themselves. If we want the best for our patients in clinical care and in preserving quality of life, then research needs to happen at the bedside. If we want effective, efficient, and cost-effective care across our health care system, then research needs to be integrated into clinical practice.

Bruyère, an academic health care organization, has committed to moving its palliative care unit from its current home at the Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital in the heart of downtown Ottawa to integrate with its complex care program at the Saint-Vincent Hospital in centretown. Bringing these two teams together will improve the care experience for patients, caregivers and families, and onsite care teams.

With that move, research has an opportunity to strengthen its potential for impact. Interdisciplinary teams can address the questions that come directly from clinical practice, providing insight into our most pressing problems. In turn, clinical practice drives new research by revealing challenges and gaps, with greater cross-collaboration at both bench and bedside.

Palliative care, focused on comfort and quality of life in the face of life-limiting illnesses, is complementary to the services of complex care, where patients live with multiple complex conditions. While this move allows Bruyère to offer complex services and a palliative approach to care in a more integrated fashion, the same applies to the benefits of new research.

Big data tools like the RESPECT calculator may now help support patients and their families with decision-making throughout their illness. Frontline interventions such as new research into leveraging transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat existential distress, or leading research in chronic wound care will be accessible to patients who may have both complex and palliative needs. The integration of research and practice, the dissolution of silos, is life-changing for patients who receive care that is tapped directly into the evidence and best-practice of multiple clinical areas.

Canadians are aging, and there is a greater need to support complex conditions over time. Drawing strengths from complementary clinical programs brings specialized care, consultations, and equipment to patients. Embracing research at the bedside elevates Bruyère’s ability to change care, practice, and expertise in the same way.

There is a relationship between research and care that strives for quality and excellence in care. Together, patients can see participation in research as part of their care, and clinical teams are empowered to advance research when science is embedded at the bedside.

Research and care must move forward hand in hand if we want to make a difference for patients and care providers.


Bruyère is a Sponsor of Research Canada’s 2022 Annual General Meeting. Visit to learn more.