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Technology and health care for the elderly medical research studies

Focus on strategic priorities that have significant social impact.

CAT 2015-12

Support, Education, Networking & Sustained Engagement (SENSE): Knowledge-to-Action with Families of the Frail Elderly Living in Residential Long-term Care

This pilot study aims to conduct a knowledge-to-action project by co-creating a workshop series with families that provides education, peer support and networking.

Possible Research Results

Anticipated findingsTogether, the data from the surveys and focus groups will illuminate the influence of participation in a collaborative and transformative approach to KTA on family members’ sense of inclusion and optimal involvement in their relatives’ care and the RLTC facility where they reside. These findings will help inform the further refinement of the KTE process for the SENSE Workshop Series. We also anticipate that while the study is taking place at one site, the findings will be transferable to similar RLTC facilities.

Impact of findingsThis study can lead to insights into how to best engage with families through KTA research. This study is directly relevant to TVN’s strategic priority to “empower, engage and support patients and their families/caregivers” as we will develop strategies that support engagement and equip family members to communicate more effectively with healthcare providers at their relative’s RLTC facility. With a growing contribution to care by family members of the frail elderly in RLTC in the coming decades, policies and programs that empower families and foster authentic care partnerships between families and care providers need to be developed. The workshop content will be transferable to other RLTC settings while the findings could be integrated into ongoing policies and practices around family inclusion in this sector. In conclusion, families have voiced a wish to be engaged and included when caring for residents. We believe the co-creation and implementation of the SENSE Workshops, will contribute to enhance existing support currently provided to them and consequently improve care of older adults living in RLTC facilities.

About the Project

Over 250,000 Canadians live in residential long-term care (RLTC). By 2038, families of residents will be giving over 107 million hours of care each year. In general, the role of families and friends in this setting has been unclear. They have been thought of as visitors, mainly providing social and emotional support. Yet our research suggests their role is changing. This is due to growing frailty and medical needs of residents, without an increase in staffing support. Family members and friends are becoming more involved in day-to-day and 'hands-on' care for their relative. They also play a larger role in the lives of other residents. Highly involved family members on-site expressed a desire to better understand the needs of all residents, particularly those with dementia.

For more details on the project rationale, objectives and research plan, click here. 

Project Team

Principal Investigator:

Jennifer Baumbusch, RN, PhD, MSN, BSN -- University of British Columbia


Elisabeth Drance, MD -- University of British Columbia

Deborah O'Connor, RSW, PhD -- University of British Columbia

Alison Phinney, RN, PhD -- University of British Columbia 

Colin Reid, PhD -- University of British Columbia

Patricia Rodney, RN, PhD -- University of British Columbia

Jo Ann Tait, MScN, BHSc, RPN -- University of British Columbia

Catherine Ward-Griffin, RN, PhD -- Western University

Knowledge Users and Partners:

Kathleen Hamilton

Project Contact: Jennifer Baumbusch --

CAT 2015-12