RESEARCH FOCUS: HEALTHY AGING
Canadians are living longer than ever, but are we living healthier? Canada’s aging population faces many barriers to making the most of these increased years.
Here at McMaster’s School of Nursing, several faculty members are contributing to the important work of keeping us healthy as we grow older.
Dr. Maureen Markle-Reid holds the Canada Research Chair in Person Centred Interventions for Older Adults with Multimorbidity and their Caregivers . She is a scientific co-director of the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit, and a member of the McMaster Institute of Research in Aging (MIRA). She has led numerous studies that involve the development and testing of new and innovative interventions to promote optimal aging at home for community-living older adults with multimorbidity, and to support their family caregivers. Recent studies have focused on fall prevention, stroke rehabilitation, depression, diabetes, and the uptake and spread of research evidence. One project involved developing and testing a web-based app to support the delivery of community-based stroke rehabilitation. Another study involves home visits from nurses and group wellness sessions to promote self-management among community-living older adults with diabetes and multimorbidity . Bio page: Dr. Markle-Reid
Dr. Jenny Ploeg is a co-director of ACHRU, the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit; this unit works together with older adults with multiple chronic conditions and their family caregivers to promote optimal aging at home. She is also an associate member in the Department of Health, Aging and Society and a member of the McMaster Institute of Research in Aging (MIRA). She has led or co-led many studies evaluating health services for older adults and their caregivers. Dr. Ploeg was a founding member of the Hamilton Council on Aging Board of Directors. She has also been active on the Hamilton Age Friendly Communities (AFC) Committee, which uses the World Health Organization approach to age-friendly communities. Together with Drs. Markle-Reid and Valaitis, she was just funded by CIHR to test a patient-centred community based program to improve care for older adults with diabetes and other chronic conditions in three provinces. Bio page: Dr. Ploeg
Dr. Ruta Valaitis is a co-director of ACHRU, the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit, and a member of the McMaster Institute of Research in Aging (MIRA). She also holds Dorothy C. Hall Endowed Chair in Primary Health Care Nursing, a million dollar research chair created in 2002. Dr. Valaitis’ research involves working together with older adults with multiple chronic conditions and their family caregivers to promote optimal aging at home, in the community. A recent study, “Caring for Seniors with Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Team Approach to e-Health Supported Transitional Care” uses a computer application to support and improve communication between stroke survivors, caregivers and health care providers. Another recently funded study involves home visits from nurses and group counselling sessions to support older adults with diabetes and two or more other chronic conditions. Bio page: Dr. Valaitis
Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen is a member of McMaster Institute of Research in Aging (MIRA) and GERAS. Her research focuses on improving the quality of life for people living in long term care homes, by examining pain management, palliative care and the role of nurse practitioners in long term care. One project, Strengthening a Palliative Approach to Long Term Care (SPA-LTC), involves bringing together residents, decision-makers, front-line staff, families and community resources to help residents and their family at the end of their lives. Another study, The Namaste Project, sets out to improve final days for people with advanced dementia with high sensory activities like touch, music, massages, and engaging and soothing conversation. It is being tested in several sites across Canada. Bio page: Dr. Kaasalainen
Dr. Kathryn Fisher is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and member of ACHRU, the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit. Recent examples of her research include a 2017 CIHR grant to use the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging database to explore ways to improve care for Canadians with or at risk for disabilities. She also conducted the statistical analysis of the intervention effects of ACHRU’s 6-month study that offered home visits and monthly group wellness sessions to older adults with Type 2 diabetes. Bio page: Dr. Fisher
Dr. Rebecca Ganann is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, a researcher with ACHRU, the Aging, Community and Health Research Unit, and a member of MIRA, the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging. She is working on research relating to community-based health care of older adults (65+) living with two or more chronic conditions, including diabetes. One of her current interests is finding ways to engage patients and their caregivers in research teams. Bio page: Dr. Ganann