Aug. 20, 2020
Social innovation project improves quality of life for NICU babies and parents
Community-engaged research is a hallmark of the nurse scientist’s work.
Dr. Karen Benzies (PhD) and her teams have strong and enduring partnerships that have shaped the design of the interventions and accelerated the transition from evidence to practice. Nowhere is this more evident than in Benzies‘s highly successful work developing Alberta FICare™ (© 2019 Karen Benzies; Family Integrated Care), an important contribution to the movement toward social innovation in the faculty and at the university.
“Social innovation is an idea generated through collaboration that renews existing structures and processes, or shifts boundaries to create new ones, and has the potential to improve the quality or quantity of life,” explains Benzies.
As an innovative model of care, Alberta FICare™ provides training that enables health-care providers to integrate parents into the care of newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). With Alberta FICare™, parents can take their baby home sooner and hospitals can avoid costs.
“Traditional approaches take nearly 20 years to translate evidence to practice,” Benzies continues. “Social innovation short-circuits this timeline by collaborating with community stakeholders to generate relevant evidence and quickly make it accessible to end-users.”
In conjunction with Innovate Calgary, Alberta FICare™ training modules will soon be available to health-care systems in other Canadian jurisdictions and internationally. In less than one year from confirming evidence of the effectiveness of Alberta FICare™, social innovation approaches have enabled access and rapid adoption of a model of care that improves outcomes for parents of newborns in the NICU.