Improving Palliative Care in Long-Term Care Homes Using Participatory Action Research

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Read more about the project here.

There is a clear and pressing need for palliative care approaches suitable to this complex healthcare environment, given the growing prevalence of residents with palliative care needs in LTC.

To meet the project’s objective a multiple case study design and participatory action research approach was used to explore how the research methodology itself, and different elements of the program, impacted implementation in four different Canadian LTC homes and how the combined elements of the program impacted resident and family outcomes.

Sharon Kaasalainen, PhD, RN is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University, an associate member of the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster, and an Honorary Professor at Queen’s University in Belfast. Dr. Kaasalainen obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Health Sciences from McMaster University, and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Toronto. Her top three research interests are pain management and palliative care in long-term care; improving the quality of life for older adults living in long-term care; and advanced practice nursing roles in long-term care.

Tamara Sussman, PhD, MSW is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University. She obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees at McGill University, and a PhD in Social Work at the University of Toronto, followed by a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program at the University of Waterloo.  Dr. Sussman’s  program of research focuses on how health services and systems impact older adults and their family members, including spousal careers’ experiences with home care; older adults’ and family members’ experiences with the transition into long-term care; barriers and facilitators to the delivery of effective interventions for depressed older adults and their care partners; and most recently the needs and experiences of more marginalized older adults in long-term care such as previously homeless older adults and older adults identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

Pamela Durepos, RN is a doctoral nursing student at McMaster in the second year of her program. She graduated from McMaster with her Master’s of Science degree in 2014 and has been employed at Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation in the Neurotrauma Intensive Care Unit for the past 13 years. Pamela is supervised by Dr. Kaasalainen and has been involved in the SPA-LTC project for the past three years. Pamela is involved in curriculum development at the undergraduate and graduate levels, particularly related to palliative care. In her MSc Pamela performed a qualitative study of an education/support program for family caregivers of persons with advanced dementia at end of life. Building upon findings from that study, Pamela’s doctoral work focuses on exploring and measuring death preparedness of caregivers in dementia.