CABHI launches 2019 Spark Program to fund early-stage innovations from point-of-care workers


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The Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) is pleased to launch its 2019 Spark program to support point-of-care workers in developing grassroots ideas and testing innovations in the field of aging and brain health.

The Spark program provides up to $50,000 (CAD) per project over 12 months to develop and refine early stage solutions or adapt and test a commercially available solution in a real-world environment. CABHI invites staff working at Canadian healthcare organizations and members of the Seniors’ Quality Leap Initiative (SQLI) to apply for funding. In total, up to $2.5 million is available across all projects.

“Point-of-care workers and service staff often have to improvise to meet the growing demands of an aging population, but because they work so closely with older adults day-in and day-out, they really understand what’s needed,” says Dr. Allison Sekuler, Managing Director at CABHI. “Their insights are critical to improve seniors’ care. The Spark program enables front-line care workers to translate these improvised ideas into early stage innovations, which can make a real difference in people’s health and well-being.”

This year, the Spark program is accepting applications aimed at addressing one of five priorities:

• Aging in place: solutions that enable older adults with dementia to maximize their independence so that they can age in their desired setting (e.g. by reducing falls, addressing social isolation, etc.)
Caregiver support: solutions that support caregivers (formal and informal) in providing care to older adults with dementia
Care coordination and navigation: solutions that help older adults, caregivers and healthcare providers to better coordinate and navigate care for older adults with dementia
Cognitive health: solutions that improve brain/cognitive health for aging adults and/or support the identification and assessment of adults at risk for dementia/cognitive impairment
Aging Indigenous & rural populations: solutions that address aging and brain health challenges particularly focusing on Indigenous populations and individuals living in rural and remote areas

Eligible applicants are invited to submit an expression of interest by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 5, 2019. More information is available on our Programs page.

“CABHI’s Spark funding was truly the catalyst to launch our YouQuest wellness community for people with young onset dementia,” says Myrla Bulman, an innovator in the current Spark program cohort. “The CABHI team understood that younger families living with dementia are underserved, and created the foundation for this practical therapeutic recreation-based service to address the unique needs of this demographic.”

“While CABHI’s Spark program funding allowed GeriMedRisk to evaluate its feasibility and impact on patient outcomes with research, its support extended well beyond,” says Dr. Joanne Ho, founder of GeriMedRisk and a past successful Spark applicant. “CABHI’s team provided valuable expertise and opportunities to evolve from a project to a sustainable program.”

Funding for this program is provided by the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, and the Baycrest Foundation.


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