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A healthier tomorrow: SURGE Research Program improves health care at Sturgeon Community Hospital

Doctor Examining X-Ray

Your donation goes a long way to improving the lives of Sturgeon County, St. Albert and North Edmonton. Sometimes the benefits provide instant gratification—such as the purchase of new equipment or the opening of a few new beds.

Other times, however, the gratification comes after a months of research. It’s this that fuels Dr. Robert Chan, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta and Sturgeon Community Hospital , as he champions high-achievement through the Sturgeon Community Hospital’s upper extremity research program.

“Our research will lead to improved patient outcomes and lower health care costs through evidence-based practice,” Dr. Chan says. “We are committed to continuing a strong research program at the Sturgeon Community Hospital.”

And one such research program is the SURGE research program—a testament to Collaborative Orthopaedic Research (CORe) and generous donations from the supporters of the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation.

Between March 1, 2017, and February 28, 2018, our community’s donations have enabled the program to thrive with seven studies currently underway. The donations have also created the opportunity to hire a casual research assistant at the Sturgeon Community Hospital to undertake study follow-up visits or provide the surgeons with support for study recruitment.

This has created tremendous advantages for the research program. The information gained from these studies are incredibly valuable, as fractures and falls keep people from the things that matter.

A working community

One of the biggest benefits to orthopaedic research is getting the community back to work. In 2016 alone, the Workers Compensation Board Alberta received more than 160,000 claims. Of these claims, 23,000 resulted in lost time.

These injuries impact workers of all demographics, with workers aged 15 to 24 making 3,100 claims and the oldest demographic accounting for about 3,900 claims. Dr. Chan and his team are dedicated to getting the community back to work.

Using research funds from generous donors, alongside grants from WCB Alberta and Edmonton Civic Employees Foundation, the Sturgeon Community Hospital led a collaborative study with Orthopaedic Trauma University of Calgary/Peter Lougheed Center to study early functional return to work following distal biceps repair.

While the results of the study are still being determined, the research cements Sturgeon Community Hospital as a leader in innovative orthopaedic research. This enables the community to have first-hand access to innovative new procedures to get back to work quicker.

A healthier aging population

Orthopaedic research keeps our aging population healthier. It is widely known that our bones can get weaker as we age, but innovative medicine can minimize the risk created by injury.

The RIST trial investigates differences in outcomes in patients aged 55 to 70 who have received either surgery or a cast following a wrist fracture. Screening and enrollment began in May 2015, and was completed in October 2017. Patients are being followed up with for up to one year after procedure.

Dr. Chan’s biggest test for his findings will come when the results are presented to patient interest groups or policy makers.

The results of this study will be paramount because they will help researchers understand the best way to treat injury in this transitional age group. This will enable patients to understand the best treatment plan and get back to their normal lives quicker to improve their overall quality of life.

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