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Dr. Paula Horsley and the BE-FIT program team win the first ever Telfer Award of Excellence: Leadership in Healthcare Improvement

Dr. Paula Horsley and the BE-FIT program team win the first ever Telfer Award of Excellence: Leadership in Healthcare Improvement for its research on increasing mobility in surgical patients.  

The negative consequences associated with prolonged bed rest in post-operative care have been studied for upwards of 75 years, yet are often overshadowed by the belief that bed rest is favorable for patients. While there are known limitations with respect to staff, time, and routine in patient mobilization, healthcare teams have been challenged to incorporate evidence-informed early patient mobilization into daily practice.  

Dr. Paula Horsley, Geriatric Medicine Resident at the University of Alberta, aimed to sustainably increase the proportion of patients out-of-bed using a patient-led reconditioning program, otherwise known as BE-FIT.  She achieved this by working with the BEdside reconditioning for Functional ImprovemenTs (BE-FIT) research team, led by Dr. Rachel Khadaroo, General Surgeon and Critical Care Physician. Early research showed that implementing the BE-FIT program on three surgical wards improved mobility in all patients, with a significant change noted in adults over 65 years old. 

What inspired BE-FIT? 

Dr. Horsley was one of fourteen participants in Telfer Executive Programs’ Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Leadership Program (QIPS). During this 10-day program that runs over the course of 9 months, participants undertake a project within their institutions to improve quality and patient safety. Under the guidance of Co-Program Directors, Samantha Hamilton and Mary T. Yates, Dr. Horsley’s BE-FIT program came to life.    

The QIPS course provided me with core knowledge and skills relating to leadership, quality improvement, and patient safety that I will draw upon and use for the rest of my career.  I was inspired to work on [my] project as I saw the potential it had to improve outcomes and reduce complications, said Dr. Horsley when asked what inspired her BE-FIT project and the impact the QIPS program would have on her career going forward. When asked what advice she had for healthcare professionals looking to make changes geared towards improving quality and patient safety within their organization, she shared, Find a project you are passionate about; your enthusiasm will shine through and motivate others to be part of the change.

Dr. Paula Horsley is the first recipient of the Telfer Award of Excellence: Leadership in Healthcare Improvement for her work and project on the BE-FIT program. She was awarded for her distinction in applying the QI method and her leadership in promoting cross-collaboration with various healthcare practitioners, allowing her to drive forward a QI initiative. Dr. Horsley demonstrated this not only throughout her project but also in the high quality of her project poster and presentation. This annual award recognizes excellence in the projects taken on by QIPS participants as they work toward making strides in quality improvement and patient care. 

The QIPS Program connects physicians and healthcare professionals across Canada who are looking to make an impact on improving quality and patient safety in their institutions. Hundreds of projects have been initiated to date in efforts to improve patient care and outcomes.   

To learn how Telfer is working towards fostering a healthier Canada, discover the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Leadership Program closing on September 14, 2022.