New study at the Bruyère Research Institute aims to improve quality of life for advanced cancer patients

Categories: Research.

Ottawa, Ontario – The Bruyère Research Institute has become a unique and world renowned institution with regards to continuing care research.  Located in Ottawa, the institute’s primary research focus is on primary care, elder care, and palliative care.

Currently, the research institute is conducting a study on delirium, attempting to reduce or prevent the effects and improve the quality of life of the patients affected. Delirium affects a vast majority of hospice palliative care patients, altering their state of conscious and cognitive functions. Some side effects of delirium include confused state of mind, disorganized behaviour, and an altered sleep-wake cycle which is the main side effect analyzed in this research study.

Researchers at the Bruyère Research Institute are currently analyzing the effects of melatonin, a hormone naturally produced in our bodies, and its potentially positive effects on cancer patients.

“People in palliative care units (mainly cancer patients) are at high risk for delirium, having major effects on the quality of life of patients and their families,” said Alistair MacDonald, a clinical research assistant at the Bruyère Research Institute.

According to MacDonald, patients who present with delirium often suffer from a disruptive sleeping pattern – which is one of the main targets for this research. Melatonin has been found to affect our sleep cycle, and has been shown to reduce the effects of delirium in postoperative patients in another study.

“Many medications administered in hospice palliative care settings are known to affect the sleep/wake cycle of patients which – with a positive outcome – could be curbed with a simple dose of melatonin for advanced cancer patients,” explained MacDonald.

This unique research study has major positive attributes associated to the quality of life of hospice palliative care patients, especially advanced cancer patients.

“The Bruyère Research Institute is dedicated to advancing research in order to improve the quality of life for terminal palliative care patients.” 

To learn more about the Bruyère Research Institute please visit their website