Christine Zeindler

Email: christine.zeindler@ubc.ca


 

Nav-CARE is a program where trained volunteers provide navigation services to people with declining health who are living at home.

Nav-CARE is a program where trained volunteers provide navigation services to people with declining health who are living at home.

Federal funding makes Nav-CARE available to Canada’s most vulnerable population

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all Canadians, but isolated older persons have been especially hard hit over the past year.

To help with this, Health Canada has awarded $2.2 million to expand across the country Nav-CARE (Navigation- Connecting, Accessing, Resourcing, Engaging)—a program developed by researchers at UBC Okanagan's School of Nursing and the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Nursing.

Nav-CARE is a program where trained volunteers provide navigation services to people with declining health who are living at home. The program has been implemented and evaluated in 27 sites across Canada. The contribution from Health Canada will support a national scale-up of Nav-CARE, with 15 centres of excellence and 30 satellite sites. The financial support will also enable an online adaptation of the Nav-CARE toolkit and training as well as allow for adaptation of Nav-CARE materials for Francophones, Indigenous populations and caregivers of persons living with dementia

“Over the last 12 years, my colleague Wendy Duggleby at the University of Alberta and I have been developing and building the evidence around the Nav-CARE program,” says Dr. Barb Pesut, professor of nursing and Principal Research Chair in Palliative and End-of-Life Care. “We know what works and are now ready to scale it up and offer it to all Canadians.”

Pesut says she and the team are optimistic thanks to the support and engagement they get from the communities where the program is offered.

“We were overwhelmed by the level of satisfaction volunteers and older adults had with the program,” says Dr. Duggleby, professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Nursing. “As a result, we have developed a Nav-CARE toolkit, which is a practical way for communities to provide compassionate care for those living in their communities with health needs.”

Pesut adds that palliative care often comes too late and many people are left struggling.

“Individuals with chronic illness need support early, as soon as their health declines enough to influence their quality of life, which is when we need to intervene.”

Nav-CARE volunteers also provide companionship and emotional support. Pesut and Duggleby expect that this program will allow more older persons to live well and independently at home.

“We want to provide support to all, but we especially want to reach the one in five seniors who admit they are experiencing emotional distress and have difficulty coping day-to-day,” says Pesut.

“While the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of this population, I’m hopeful that Nav-CARE will help improve the lives of countless Canadians.”

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

UBCO expert Marie Tarrant discusses the latest research during National Breastfeeding Week.

UBCO expert discusses latest breastfeeding research during National Breastfeeding Week

Breast is still best for babies, even during a pandemic, according to one UBC Okanagan nursing professor and women’s health expert.

Marie Tarrant is the director of the School of Nursing at UBC Okanagan and a researcher on women’s health and breastfeeding. She explains the latest trends in breastfeeding research, the relationship between Type 2 diabetes and nursing, and the latest guidelines for breastfeeding during COVID-19.

Canadian National Breastfeeding Week is October 1 to 7.

Pumping is on the rise

There is an increase in mothers feeding their infants only breast milk that they collected beforehand, according to Tarrant’s new research. Her findings showed that less than half of women in her study directly breastfed their babies. She adds that this is a common trend in Asia, North America and Europe.

“This is a good news, bad news story,” says Tarrant, who undertook the study with her University of Hong Kong doctoral student, Heidi Fan. “While it’s great that the babies are initially getting breast milk instead of formula, these women are more likely to switch to formula earlier than recommended.”

She notes that infants should be fed breast milk for a minimum of six months. Not only does breast milk meet the unique and changing needs of an infant’s nutrition, it also protects them against viral and bacterial infections.

“New mothers should first establish direct breastfeeding before introducing bottles. Seek out support to help with this early on.”

Breastfeeding reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes

Breastfeeding reduces diabetes risk in women who have developed pregnancy-related diabetes, according to a recent research review published by Tarrant’s group.

“Up to 20 per cent of women with gestational diabetes will go on to develop Type 2 diabetes,” says Tarrant. “This is a serious condition where blood sugar levels aren’t properly regulated and can lead to serious consequences later, including stroke and blindness.”

Her study analyzed data accumulated from 15 pregnancy-related studies and demonstrated a strong association between breastfeeding and improved regulation of blood sugar.

“The take-home message is that women are strongly recommended to breastfeed, especially if they have gestational diabetes. In fact, the longer they continue to breastfeed, the lower their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.”

COVID-19 concerns

New breastfeeding mothers may have additional challenges during this time of physical distancing, suggests Tarrant.

“Changes away from at-home visits to online platforms are less hands-on and this may make it difficult for everyone,” she says. “Getting an infant to latch on can be trying in the early postpartum and often the best solution is an in-person demonstration.”

Tarrant recommends that new moms reach out to public health nurses and experienced peers early.

“Don’t wait until you’re desperate for help. Establish support groups right away. Health care professionals can come to your home and are able to safely provide guidance. Peers can provide much-needed psychological support and encouragement. Moms need to know that they are not alone.”

COVID-19 positive moms

“To date, there is no evidence that the COVID virus passes through breast milk,” says Tarrant. “Most organizations, including the World Health Organization, encourage all mothers to breastfeed, even if they are COVID positive.”

She adds the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the risk of infecting the infant. If COVID positive moms follow the protocols, such as mask wearing and hand washing, the risk is very minimal.

“Mothering through breastfeeding is the most natural and effective way of caring for the baby, even in these unusual times.”

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

Almost 10 years ago, Bell launched “Let’s Talk”, an initiative to promote awareness and positive change in the mental health of Canadians.

UBC Okanagan experts are available to comment on several areas of mental health research. Bell Let’s Talk Day takes place Wednesday, January 29.

Happiness and canine therapy

John-Tyler Binfet

Associate professor, Okanagan School of Education

  • How students are kind; kindness in school; dog therapy; stress reduction in college students.

General psychology

Shirley Hutchinson

Lecturer, psychology department, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences

  • General psychology; child development; adult development and aging; special topics: psychology of motivation; anxiety, fear, and uncertainty in intergroup relations.

Health psychology

Shelly Ben-David

Assistant professor, School of Social Work

  • Youth mental health including clinical high-risk to psychosis, first-episode psychosis, anxiety and depression; early intervention in mental health; identity in the early stages of psychosis; digital divide among youth; mental health service use decision making; mental health service use engagement interventions; implementation research; youth engagement in research.

Karen Ragoonaden

Professor, Okanagan School of Education

  • Mindfulness and well-being, Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques (SMART) education.

Sally Willis Stewart

Senior instructor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences
Director, Nutrition Education Centre

  • Nutrition and physical activity; obesity and eating disorder prevention; student well-being, mental well-being and resiliency, HEAL100 instructor.

Indigenous health, effects of climate change

Nelly Oelke

Associate professor, School of Nursing

  • Mental health and wellness in rural communities with adults aged 50 and over; impacts of climate change and climate change events on mental health and well-being; mental wellness in urban Indigenous adults aged 50 and over.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

Currently, there are more than 1,600 active research projects underway at UBCO.

UBCO stories you may have missed in 2019

UBC Okanagan has grown to a student population of more than 10,000. With this growth, has come new research opportunities—currently, there are more than 1,600 active projects. UBCO researchers are challenging established assumptions, innovating solutions and creating new knowledge that will have broad impacts on our society. Here are some of the accomplishments reached in 2019.

Promoting resilient environments

UBCO biologists have discovered a new source of carbon dioxide in lake water that is used for irrigation. Their findings have practical applications for agriculture-based communities in arid regions. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/02/21/ubc-researchers-explore-an-often-ignored-source-of-greenhouse-gas

Ecologists from UBCO and the University of Alberta have developed non-invasive methods for tracking animals, using DNA found in their feces, saliva and hair. These approaches will provide improved understanding of wildlife migration and population trends. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/07/04/genetic-tagging-can-be-an-economical-ethical-tool

Supporting healthy people

UBCO has joined with international partners to determine how the human heart has adapted to engage in endurance physical activities. The findings will bring new insights to the international effort to reduce hypertensive heart disease—one of the most common causes of illness and death in the developed world. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/09/16/taking-evolution-to-heart

UBCO researchers partnered with an international research team to complete 15 major scientific studies in Peru’s Cerro de Pasco to better understand how high altitude affects newcomers and Indigenous populations. This research is relevant for people who suffer from low oxygen health conditions including those with lung or heart disease. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/07/16/global-research-expedition-begins-release-of-15-major-studies

A new Faculty of Medicine Research Centre, the first such facility outside the Lower Mainland, was established at UBC Okanagan. The Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management will serve as a provincial leader for research, knowledge translation and exchange in the urgent research field of chronic diseases. To find out more, visit: smp.med.ubc.ca/2019/07/22/new-faculty-of-medicine-research-centre-at-ubc-okanagan

Developing emerging technologies

UBC Okanagan researchers have discovered a new class of anti-ice surface coatings. These low interfacial toughness (LIT) materials ease the force required to remove ice from large areas, such as car windshields. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/04/26/clearing-an-icy-windshield-is-about-to-get-easier-says-ubc-engineer

Researchers at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering have developed a low-cost sensor that can be interlaced into textiles and composite materials. While the research is still ongoing, it may pave the way for smart clothing that can monitor human movement. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/05/16/ubc-researchers-create-washable-sensor-that-can-be-woven-into-materials

Building thriving communities

UBCO researchers were involved in an international study which found that people are more charitable if allowed to quickly claim tax credits for their donations. Their findings showed that changing the deadline for donations so they land close to tax time increased contributions by nine per cent. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/04/15/time-is-money-especially-when-it-comes-to-giving

Thanks to a visiting international fellowship, a UBCO professor is collaborating with the University of Exeter to promote and disseminate environmental humanities research. This field speaks to the interconnectedness of climate change, factory farming and human health. To find out more, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/2019/11/08/ubc-professor-visits-university-of-exeter-under-the-global-partnership-visiting-international-fellowship

UBC is putting a spotlight on the human side of research through the creation of a public humanities hub on both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. Research from the Public Humanities Hub will bridge connections in faculties across both campuses, support UBC’s research culture, and publicize and organize humanities research and amplify the work of humanists on the Okanagan campus. To find out more, visit: news.ok.ubc.ca/2019/11/18/use-the-humanities-to-bridge-cultural-divisions-say-ubc-profs

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca