Continuing Care Research Collaborations

Co-Designing Action-Oriented Mental Health Conversations Between Care Providers and Aging Canadians in the Community


PI: Dr. Justine Giosa;

Co-Is: Dr. Paul Holyoke, Elizabeth Kalles, Dr. Carrie McAiney, Dr. Nellie Oelke, & Dr. Katie Aubrecht;

Care Lab RA: Tatianna Beresford, MSc Aging & Health

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Media Release

Summary: The COVID‑19 pandemic has worsened a pre-existing mental health crisis in Canada which has greatly affected older adults. It is critical that our health and social care systems are equipped to respond to the increased need for mental health support, care and treatment across the lifespan to prepare for future emergencies and pandemics. This project aims to adapt the MHC tool and co-create and test processes for facilitating mental health conversations and follow-up actions in health and social care settings across Canada. In consultation with a Steering Committee of experts by lived experience, and a national team of researchers and partners, the 3-phase study will conduct workshops and surveys with participants representing diverse experiences, and test the adapted tool and processes in 6 urban and rural communities across 3 provinces. We want to understand implementation and assess potential for broader impact. This project will act on priority research questions identified by Canadians during the COVID‑19 pandemic, in response to the growing mental health crisis for Canada’s diverse aging population. Results will lessen the impact of COVID‑19 and build individual, community and system resilience in preparation for future health emergencies and pandemics.

“The point is to leverage existing point of care interactions and therapeutic relationships in community settings to better integrate physical and mental health care, rather than building entirely new programs that could further silo the system. We feel this approach will help to build provider confidence, remove system access barriers and ultimately result in improved individual, collective and system-level resilience.” Dr. Justine Giosa (PI)

Strengthening Care Mobilization in Canada's Welfare State


PI: Dr. Laura Funk

Co-Is: Dr. Janna Klostermann, Dr. Dana Sawchuk, Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Dr. Maria Cherba, Dr. Mara Fridell, Dr. Christine Ceci, Dr. Pat Armstrong

Care Lab RAs: Allison Hancock, BA Honours Forensic Psychology Student, StFX; Ethan Hume, BA Sociology Student, StFX

Funder: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Summary: Supporting care advocacy is crucial given that the status quo is harmful for carers and unsustainable for society more broadly, which relies on this unpaid labour. As policies are unlikely to change without public demand, in this project we investigate public rhetoric around care and family responsibility, examine conditions under which family carers engage in collective action or politicization, and explore how carers' insights might inform a broad-based care movement and expand conceptions of family care. Building on our extensive, diverse expertise in care, aging, feminist theory and activism, we bridge rhetorical and ethnographic inquiry with a 'future-making' orientation, developing and analyzing a caregiving advocacy rhetoric dataset, interviews with home-based carers of older adults, observations of carers' formalized group conversations, and transformative discussion workshops. Throughout, we expand feminist theories of care and social movement activism with a focus on everyday citizenship and politicization. We ask: (1) How is family care understood in care advocacy rhetoric? (2) Under which conditions do family carers engage in everyday politicization practices -- developing collective identities or reframing the division of unpaid care as a socio-political issue? (3) How might focused carer dialogue shift understandings of care and family responsibility, or envision alternative care arrangements? We will engage carers and collaborators in five cities in five provinces, capitalizing on our team's ties to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Gatineau, and Halifax.

Safe Places for Aging and Care


PI: Dr. Rachel Herron

Co-Is: Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Dr. Douglas Brownridge, Dr. Laura Funk, Dr. Dale Spencer, Dr. Christine Kelly, Dr. Lori Weeks

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Media Release


Summary: There is an urgent need to address different forms of violence and strengthen violence prevention strategies across the long-term care continuum. Violence can lead to physical and psychological harm, emotional exhaustion, and burnout for carers while being regarded as violent, aggressive, or difficult can have a direct impact on older adults’ sense of self, care relationships, and quality of care. What is missing from current research on violence and aging is in-depth understanding of the environments and circumstances that enable or inhibit violent interactions across settings of care. The overall goal of this research is to identify how and why features of care environments (social, physical, cultural and organizational) influence violent actions among older adults and carers and to inform the development of more effective violence prevention strategies across structures, settings and relations of care.

Seniors-Adding Life to Years (SALTY)


Co-PIs: Dr. Janice Keefe (NPI) and Dr. Carole Estabrooks

Co-Is: SALTY Team

Care Lab RA: Andreina Marquez de la Plata Gregor, BA Honours Sociology Student, StFX

Funder: The project is funded through a Late Life Issues grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (FRN145401), in partnership with Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (FRN16738), Research Nova Scotia (formerly Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation) (FRN2016-870) and Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2016 through to 2020.

Media Release

Project Video

Podcast: "Let's Talk Care: Fresh Perspectives on Long-Term Care Quality of Life"

Summary: Seniors – Adding Life to Years (SALTY) is a four-year research project, developed by researchers, care providers, care administrators, policy makers and older adults and their families from across Canada. The project aims to add quality to late life for people living in long term care and for their caregivers, including family, friends, volunteers and care workers who support their care. SALTY’s research is organized into four interrelated streams: Monitor Care Practice, Map Promising Approaches to Care Relationships, Evaluate Innovative Practice, and Examine Policy Context. The project which employs diverse and multiple methods is being conducted in four Canadian provinces – British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia and will have relevance for jurisdictions across Canada. The Mapping Care Relationships team comprised of Dr. Tamara Daly, Dr. Ivy Bourgeault, Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Dr. Susan Braedley, Dr. Pat Armstrong, Dr. Hugh Armstrong, Dr. Jackie Choiniere, Prince Owusu, and Vasuki Shanmuganathan, aimed to identify how promising approaches to late life long-term care can enhance care relationships and quality of work.