Meeting Minutes - Maureen Dobbins: Seniors Health - September 6th. 2018
This meeting was opened by President Martin Alderwick at 9:55 am at Trinity United Church. There were 36 members present and President Alderwick announced a guest, Bill Shields. Also returning for a visit was Len Johnston, a past Speakers’ Committee member and the person who recommended today’s presenter, Dr. Maureen Dobbins. Dr. Dobbins was also welcomed.
President Alderwick kicked off today’s presentation by saying he had learned some recent statistics about our aging population. For instance, people 65 and older is the fastest growing demographic. As of the 2016 census in Canada, 16% of the population is over 65 years of age. Canada is relying on immigration to spur growth in this country.
Announcements Activities – Ray Biffis - The Grand River Boat Cruise is on Sept. 19th and you can now invite other friends as guests and Sat. Sept. 8th is the last day to register. - The night at the races at Elora Raceway is on Sept. 21st. Sign-up soon.
Coffee Club – Martin Alderwick - Meets on alternate Thursdays at the Boathouse until mid-December
Membership Interest – Del Campbel - Del provided an update on the status of John Pawley. John is recovering from cancer treatments and seems to be recovering well.
Speakers’ Committee – Julian Sale - The Speakers’ Committee is meeting on Mon. Sept. 10th @ 10:00 am at the Symposium Restaurant; - the Committee is inviting members to submit any suggestions of potential speakers to committee members; - Julian solicited possible interest in experimenting in a membership meeting consisting of panel discussion on some topic of interest to the membership. (the straw-vote indicated that this was something for the Speakers’ Committee to consider).
Julian Saleintroduced Dr. Maureen Dobbins, RN, PhD to speak on "Seniors Health – McMaster Optimal Aging Website"
Bio: Maureen Dobbins joined the School of Nursing at McMaster University as an Assistant Professor in 1999. Currently a Professor, she holds cross appointments with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, and the Masters of Science in eHealth program. Dr. Dobbins will share with us the origins of the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal and describe its purpose, indicate how to use it, and give some examples.
Web Resources are consumer-friendly information such as blogs, videos and information sheets that Portal staff have identified as potentially relevant to older adults and their caregivers, then rated for use of research evidence, rigorous development process, and usability. The key messages are summarized.
Evidence Summaries are short one- or two-page documents that describe in consumer-friendly language the findings from research on a particular topic. The summaries are prepared by researchers associated with the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal.
Dr. Maureen Dobbins This portal is useful for exactly the age range that the Men’s Club members fit into. Today’s talk is to inform us of what the portal is, what is in it, and what kinds of material you will find in it that is related to men’s health.
The portal was made possible by a $10 million donation from Suzanne Lebarge who has had a long standing relationship with McMaster University. She is committed to supporting optimal aging among the population.
When you' re in the thick of an illness where do you find good quality, quick information. There are different kinds of information that have been distilled and they are referred to as evidence based summaries, blogs, and web resource ratings. (see link to optimal aging website at: www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org )
Dr. Dobbins has spent many years looking for information on public health and working in the health sector that’s trying to prevent illness and trying to prevent people from having to go to the hospital to treat illness. She started a repository called “health evidence” many years ago to put into one place and to synthesize multiple studies on individual topics and to understand what it means and what interventions are working. She looks for many studies and compiles the information in one place, verifying the quality of that research, assessing the quality of the information and then making it available for people who work in public health.
Along the way she has been trying to determine the best way to get that information out to the people wanting this information. Should it be in hard copy, digital or using social media. She has been experimenting with what changes people’s professional practice behaviours in acquiring this information and has brought this knowledge to the portal to disseminate to the public. She and her colleagues at McMaster work with public health professionals, policy-makers, clinicians and physicians. They have been pooling their ideas as to how the public will best be able to receive this information and the most effective way of getting this information to the public.
The website is information that you can trust. They are doing the hard work of searching the world for relevant information and sifting through the 95% of the information that isn’t worth your time in reading on the internet. They have categorized the topics to make finding what you are searching for easier. Anyone can use the portal without having to create a profile or having to log in. You can request to receive specific topics that you might be interested in.
The topics are divided into health and health conditions; programs and services; products that exit; and practices. There are also things related to the social aspects of health. There is information that is related to mental health and how to avoid such things as loneliness, depression and isolation.
The portal allowed the group to bring together three pre-existing databases at the McMaster University. One is McMaster Plus which is a database filled with over a 100 thousand published articles that are useful for a doctor or nurse practitioner. Another is Health Evidence which is more for the public and is around preventing infectious diseases and promoting health. The third database is Health Systems which is filled with health systems research and is what policy-makers need to know.
The funding from Suzanne Lebarge allowed the three databases to be brought together within one platform. It took many years to bring together three very different systems together as to how they categorized things, how things were labeled, how things were assessed so that they could be accessed with one click of a button. This was how the optimal aging portal was born.
The final piece of this platform was the Social Systems Evidence that deals with the social side of things such as retirement planning or financial planning.
What’s in all of these databases are the published abstracts that have been written up and published in a journal and you can find it in the portal whether or not you are subscribed to the particular journal. The group has re-written some of these abstracts into layman’s terms so that the average person can understand them. Everything on the portal has been appraised. McMaster has been doing this type of appraisal of good quality evidence since the early 1980's.
Dr. Dobbins used the portal to show examples of the type of information that can be found on the portal. She also showed examples of some of the 140 blogs on the portal and other information related to that topic and where it can be found on the portal. They pick topics that are trending in the media and then look for topics that are hitting the headlines. Celebrity endorsements are particularly reviewed because what celebrities say has a significant impact on services. The team looks for relative topics that have been reviewed and responds from research already done to expose myths. A lot of the time there is no scientific foundation for what celebrities are claiming.
This caused the team to consider what they could do to help the average person who doesn’t really want to wade through a lot of literature. So they created what they call the web resource rating by searching the world for different types of resources and assessed the quality of how that resource was created, who wrote about that article and what is known about the writer(s). This has resulted in the team creating a repository of info. A lot of time and money has been spent on finding good quality information and the funder wants to know that money is being spent well. They have to sort through a lot of info to find a little bit of fact backed up by science.
McMaster Plus has many studies on various topics and this information can be shared to anyone. In deciding what resource to include there are several criteria: It has to be free to log in to it; you don’t have to have a subscription; it’s not directly funded by some company trying to sell you something; it has to be relevant to optimal aging and citizens and consumers. All sites are free with no pop-ups; it's for the layperson.
In order to stay up to date you can sign-up for anything new or follow on Twitter and Facebook and follow at www.Mac_agingnews .