The Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable foundation that links research, education and practice to improve quality of life and care for older adults. A partnership between Schlegel Villages, the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College, RIA mobilizes research evidence to inform healthcare education, training, practice and policy.
In 2014, RIA launched a landmark study, called Making the Most of Mealtimes, to explore the factors that promote better nutrition for individuals living in long-term care facilities. The two-year study followed 600 residents from Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario and revealed three key factors influencing food intake among this demographic:
1. Meal quality (the availability of nutritious, appetizing food options)
2. Meal access (individualized assistance with food intake)
3. Meal experience (pleasant physical surroundings and friendly, person-centred support)
RIA sought to communicate these and other findings in a way that engaged citizens and organizations in making changes to improve nutrition and food intake for older adults.
Our team is frequently tasked with knowledge translation projects – that is, making complex research data accessible to a broad audience through creative design.
To achieve RIA’s goal, we developed a video that follows the journey of a long-term care resident who experiences the benefits of an improved mealtime experience. With a run-time of less than two minutes, the video communicates key research findings concisely, while also promoting resources developed by RIA to empower users to make positive changes that will improve nutrition for older adults.
The Making the Most of Mealtimes video was shared at a staggering rate, exceeding RIA’s initial expectations. To date, the video has reached more than 20,000 individuals, including healthcare providers, caregivers, researchers, students, academic professionals, long-term care providers, and members of the RIA research community.
Not only was the video successful in conveying RIA’s key research findings, but it has also served as a tool to drive online traffic to RIA’s website, engaging new readers, followers and potential donors to support the organization’s ongoing efforts to improve quality of life for all Canadians.
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