Recruitment Status
Not yet recruiting
Estimated Enrollment
Same as current


Older Adults With Complex Care Needs
Not Applicable
Allocation: Non-RandomizedIntervention Model: Parallel AssignmentIntervention Model Description: The investigators will conduct a non-randomized control trial to understand the impact of the intervention. For each site (Sinai Health System and THP - both Mississauga and Credit Valley sites) and each service, half of the participating wards will be designated as control while the other half will be designated as intervention. The investigators will collect baseline data from all wards (control and intervention) during phase 1 while co-design is on-going and the intervention has not been deployed. During phase 2, after co-design is complete, the co-designed technology intervention and workflow will be rolled out to only the intervention wards. The investigators will then collect data (identical to what was collected at baseline) from all wards (control and intervention) to understand the impact of technology by examining the differential change between control and intervention wards (difference in difference approach).Masking: None (Open Label)Primary Purpose: Supportive Care

Participation Requirements

Between 60 years and 125 years
Both males and females


Older adults with multi-morbidity and complex care needs (CCN) are among those most likely to experience frequent care transitions between settings, particularly from hospital to home. Many of these community-dwelling older adults fall into the category of high-cost users, who account for the majori...

Older adults with multi-morbidity and complex care needs (CCN) are among those most likely to experience frequent care transitions between settings, particularly from hospital to home. Many of these community-dwelling older adults fall into the category of high-cost users, who account for the majority of year over year healthcare spending in Ontario, Canada and internationally. The complexity of these individuals stems not only from their multimorbidity disease profiles, but also the social, environmental and contextual issues that make it difficult for them to manage their physical health needs. It is often the interaction of these challenges which results in frequent visits to the hospital. When patients leave the hospital, they face challenges as they attempt to cope and adjust at home. Krumholz coined the term 'post-hospital syndrome' to describe this acquired, transient period of vulnerability post-discharge due to impaired physiological systems and depleted reserves. This depletion limits patients' ability to adjust and manage their health issues, often leading to hospital re-admission within 30 days with an acute medical illness unrelated to the original diagnosis. Poor communication and incomplete information transfer between the various clinicians and organizations providing care to CCN patients as they transition from hospital to home can impede access to needed support and resources during this vulnerable time. Studies have demonstrated that insufficient communication during the transition process can lead to poor patient outcomes and higher rates of readmission for older adults with CCN. While improving clinician communication is important, the quality and content of that communication with patients also matters. Patients with CCN benefit most from person-centred delivery models that can adapt to their unique needs and engage them as partners in their care. Person-centred approaches have been shown to improve discharge from hospital to home by emphasizing partnership between patient and provider, improving patient self-efficacy, and through improving communication between patients, providers and within care teams. For patients with CCN, incorporating ongoing support for self-care after they return home as part of that communication can offer additional support and benefit. In sum, communication that enables person-centred care and supported self-management may offer the greatest advantages as the investigators support older adults with complex care needs transitioning from hospital to home. Digital health technologies offer a promising and appealing solution to support this type of person-centred communication across inter-professional teams working within and between health care organizations. A systematic review of inter-professional communication in transitional care models found that information systems, as well as multi-professional care coordination support higher satisfaction and subjective quality of life for older adults. A key strength of digital solutions is their ability to foster shared situational awareness of inter-professional teams. An essential component of interdisciplinary communication, shared situational awareness is a group or team's ability to understand the "big picture" and work together towards a common goal, like transitioning a patient from hospital to home. While these examples demonstrate the potential of digital communication platforms to improve team communication and functioning, there remain a number of issues that limit the value of current systems. First, the majority of communication systems exist within single teams or organizations, and rarely span those boundaries. Second, many available communication systems do not inherently support person-centred care delivery, as few are co-designed with patients and providers. As such, many of the available systems are not well suited to supporting the communication needs of care teams, patients and families during the time of transition from hospital back to the community. Finally, many existing systems have only been evaluated over short-periods with insufficient attention to implementation as a means to support both evidence of effectiveness as well as transferability of findings. This project will address these three gaps by implementing and evaluating a Digital Bridge to support person-centred health care transitions for older adults with complex care needs. The Digital Bridge will: 1) span organizational and professional boundaries by enabling communication between inter-disciplinary teams working in hospital and primary care, with patients and caregivers; 2) support person-centred delivery through adoption of co-design methods to establish a workflow; and 3) be evaluated through an implementation science lens. The Digital Bridge will integrate two tested and validated technologies that are currently in use in hospital and community settings: 1) Care Connector and 2) The electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO) tool. Care Connector is an inter-professional communication and collaboration platform initially designed in the hospital setting to support clinical teams caring for patients with CCN. The tool includes discharge communication supports like Patient Oriented Discharge Summaries (PODS), to support clinician communication and collaboration in the community and across care settings. The ePRO tool is a primary-care facing technology, co-designed with patients with CCN, their primary care providers and family caregivers to enable communication on patient-oriented goals. The investigators hypothesize that these two technologies will work synergistically by both supporting the communication and collaboration needs of clinicians and patients at the critical time of care transitions (Care Connector) and engaging patients to set goals and monitor their progress with clinicians starting in the hospital and through their transition back into the community over the longer term (ePRO).

Tracking Information

  • Trillium Health Partners
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Principal Investigator: Carolyn Steele Gray, PhD Sinai Health System Principal Investigator: Terence Tang, MD Trillium Health Principal Investigator: Michelle Nelson, PhD Sinai Health System