A palliative approach to care is a group effort

NATIONAL RESEARCH LEADS

ONTARIO

Sharon Kaasalainen

PhD, RN

Sharon is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and an associate member of the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario. She is also an Honorary Professor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland. She received a 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.

Lynn Mccleary

RN, PhD

Lynn is a mental health and gerontological nurse. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario. She is also the former Past President of the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association. Her top three research interests focus on dementia services, transitions in dementia care and dementia caregiving.

QUEBEC

Tamara Sussman

PhD, MSW

Tamara is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She received 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.  Her top three research interests focus 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; and barriers and facilitators to the delivery of effective interventions for depressed older adults and their care partners.

SASKATCHEWAN

Paulette Hunter

Ph.D., R.D. Psych.

Paulette is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan. She works half-time as a psychologist at Parkridge Centre, a large long-term care home in Saskatoon. Her research interests emphasize person-centred and palliative approaches to dementia care in Canada’s long-term care system. She teaches on the topics of psychology, aging, and applied ethics.

abigail wickson-griffiths

RN, PhD

Abigail is working with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Regina and is also the Gerontology Program Coordinator. She holds degrees from Ryerson University in Toronto and from McMaster University in Hamilton. Her fellowship work evaluated the Palliative Performance Scale use in the long-term care home setting. Her primary research interests are palliative and end-of-life care, dementia care, long-term care and advance practice nursing.

MaNitoba

Genevieve thompson

RN, PhD

Genevieve is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. She holds research affiliations with the Centre on Aging at the University of Manitoba, and with Riverview Health Centre. Her program of research focuses on personhood, dignity, and quality care for older adults living and dying in long-term care (LTC). Her studies have systematically explored issues related to dignity, distress, palliative approaches to end-of-life care, or quality care for older adults living within the LTC environments.

ALBERTA

lorraine venturato

RN, PhD

Lorraine is an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, and holds the Faculty of Nursing Research Chair in Gerontology. She also co-leads the Hotchkiss Brain Institute’s Dementia and Cognitive Impairment Neuro-Team. Dr Venturato’s work focuses on understanding quality of care and quality of life for older people – particularly older people living with dementia – and emphasizes partnerships between practice, research and education.

staff

Sally Shaw

BScH, MSc

Sally is a Program Manager for Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen at McMaster University. Sally has her Master’s degree in Molecular Biology from Queen’s University, a postgraduate certificate in Clinical Research from Humber College and spent the last 10 years managing an oncology program at Mount Sinai/Princess Margaret in Toronto. She also spent 5 years on the Research Ethics Board at Mount Sinai Hospital. Sally is excited to support clinical trials, research grants, contracts and ethics with the SPA-LTC team and has an interest in palliative care and symptom management.

Jordan Browne

BSc, MSc


Jordan is a Research Coordinator for Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen at McMaster University. 
Jordan has a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics from Queen’s University Belfast, a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and spent the last 5 years coordinating multiple nephrology studies and a nationwide covid study at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. 
Jordan is excited to provide support and expertise in REDCap and data analysis skills with the SPA-LTC team and has an interest in palliative care and how we can improve long term care for future generations.

Julia kruizinga

BNSc, RN, MScN

Julia is a Research Assistant with Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen at McMaster University. She completed her BNSc at Queen’s University in 2020 and her MScN at McMaster University’s School of Nursing in 2022, where Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen was her supervisor. She proudly works as a registered nurse in hospice and palliative care nursing. Her research interests include early integration of palliative care, quality end-of-life outcomes, and access to palliative care.

Elizabeth wojtowicz

RN(EC), BScN, NP-PHC, MHM, GNC(C)

Elizabeth is a primary health care nurse practitioner with 20 years’ experience, focusing on care of the elderly. Her research interests include implementing a palliative approach to care in long-term care homes, person-centred care and quality of life for persons living with dementia, and nurse practitioner models of care in long-term care homes. She works as a research coordinator for the SPA-LTC program.

Kirstian Gibson

TBD

Kirstian Gibson is an Applied Social Psychology PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Kirstian has her Master’s degree in Applied Social Psychology (USask), a bachelors in Psychology (UNB), and a bachelors in Kinesiology (UNB). Her research interests include understanding and improving the quality-of-life of persons living with dementia who reside in the community and in long-term care and their family care partners. She is also interested in the implementation of palliative care in the long-term care setting.

TRAINEEs

Shirin Vellani

Postdoctoral Fellow

Shirin Vellani is a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen at Mc Master University. She is a Nurse Practitioner by training, who has experience working in a variety of specialized geriatric services. She earned her PhD in Nursing Science at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto with a collaborative specialization in Aging, Palliative and Supportive Care Across the Life Course, in 2021. Her research focused on engaging older adults with early stage dementia and their care partners in advance care planning utilising a virtual platform. She is also interested in implementing an integrated palliative approach in dementia care across the disease trajectory. As well, in exploring interdisciplinary models of care that include nurse practitioners; and common data elements to optimize the care for older adults in long-term care sector.

Marie-Lee Yous

Postdoctoral Fellow

Marie-Lee Yous is a Postdoctoral Fellow supervised by Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen and an Instructor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. Her research journey is inspired by her many years of experience as a Registered Nurse supporting persons living with dementia and their families on a Long-Term Care unit. She is passionate about pursuing research on Namaste Care to meaningfully engage persons living with dementia and family and friend caregivers. She has research interests in co-creating and implementing caregiver interventions for persons living with dementia, non-pharmacological approaches to support persons experiencing responsive behaviors, and dementia education to support healthcare providers.

DONNY LI

Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours)

Donny is a Research Assistant with Dr. Kaasalainen at McMaster University. He is currently studying in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program at McMaster University and is involved with research in palliative and supportive care at William Osler Health System. His research interests include the implementation of palliative care across cultures, critical care, and neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.

Vanessa Maradiaga Rivas 

BScN, RN, MSc Student 

Vanessa is a Research Assistant with Dr. Kaasalainen at McMaster University. She completed her BScN at McMaster University in 2017 and is a MSc Student at McMaster University’s School of Nursing, where Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen is her supervisor. She has experience working as a Registered Nurse in Acute medicine and Long-Term Care (LTC). Her research interests include the involvement of education in improving the quality of life for those in the LTC/hospital setting. She is also interested in the early implementation of palliative and end-of-life care discussions and the integration of debriefing/supportive sessions among health care professionals.

STEPHANIE LUCCHESE  

RN, MN, PhD student 

Stephanie Lucchese is a Research Assistant for Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen at McMaster University. Stephanie is a Registered Nurse and has a Canadian Nurses Association certification in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. She has a Masters in Nursing from Ryerson University and is a PhD student at McMaster’s School of Nursing Program. Stephanie’s research interests include: mental health, aging and immigrant health.

Jennifer Harris  

RN, MEd, PhD student 

Jennifer Harris is a Research Assistant for Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen at McMaster University. Jennifer is a Registered Nurse and has a Canadian Nurses Association certification in Hospice Palliative Care. She has a Masters in Education from Wilfrid Laurier University and is a PhD student at McMaster’s School of Nursing Program. Jennifer’s research interests include: palliative care and leadership in LTC, nursing education

ivy myge  

Graduate Research Assistant Lead

Ivy Myge is a Clinical Psychology PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Ivy has a Bachelors in Psychology (honours) (UFV). Her research interests include understanding and improving the bereavement, grief, and palliative care experiences of family care partners and staff working in long-term care. She is also interested in the implementation of relationship-centred care in the long-term care setting.

Kelsey haczkewicz  

Graduate Research Assistant

Kelsey Haczkewicz recently completed her Bachelor of Science Honours in Psychology
from the University of Regina in April. Kelsey will be entering the Clinical Psychology Master’s program at the University of Regina in the fall of 2022. Her research interests include improving the experiences of both residents and informal caregivers in long-term care facilities.

somayeh khorasani  

Graduate Research Assistant

Somayeh Khorasani is a Master of Public Health student at the University of Saskatchewan. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from her home country. Her research interests focus on improving the quality of life of older adults, end-of-life care, and palliative care.

jyllenna landry  

Graduate Research Assistant

Coming soon!

Rebeca pereira  

Graduate Research Assistant

Rebeca Pereira is a Psychology M.A. student in the Culture, Health, and Human Development stream at the University of Saskatchewan. Rebeca has a bachelor’s in psychology (UofT). Her research interests include understanding relationships in long-term care settings that support the quality of life for residents and family caregivers, end-of-life care and bereavement.

mandana nezhad bagheri  

Graduate Research Assistant

Mandana Nezhad Bagheri is a Master of Public Health Student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Mandana received her bachelor’s degree from the Ahvaz Jondishapoor University of Medical Sciences while living in her home country of Iran and has worked for approximately 8 years in different healthcare areas. Mandana will be working on the SPA-LTC project as a research assistant during her practicum. Mandana is interested in studying long-term care and is passionate about improving the quality of life for older adults and disabled people by implementing a palliative care approach in long-term care homes.

Hailey Acton  

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hailey Acton is an undergraduate student at the University of Saskatchewan in her final year of attaining her bachelor’s in Psychology. She will then proceed to completing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include the impact chronic health conditions and quality of care have on family structures/systems. Additionally, Hailey is interested and values the implementation of a palliative care approach within long-term care settings.

Ayodipupo adetola  

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ayodipupo Adetola is a 4th year nursing student at the University of Regina. Her research interests include primary care, mental health and women’s health. She is also interested in improving long-term care and health literacy in the general population.

Wilson lI  

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Wilson Li is a Research Assistant with Dr. Hunter at the St. Thomas More College of the University of Saskatchewan. He is currently a Biomedical Neuroscience student at the University of Saskatchewan. His research interests include understanding and optimizing delivery of long-term care approaches, mental health, and cognitive neuroscience.

josh maza  

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Josh is an undergraduate psychology student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Josh will be completing his honours degree requirements this coming year and plans to convocate next spring. His research interests include the impacts of palliative care on mental health for residents and families, as well as life events that affect personality over time. He is excited to work with everyone at SPA-LTC.

Elizabeth pywell 

Research Assistant

Elizabeth Pywell is a recent graduate from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Elizabeth has her BA&S Honours degree in Health Studies. Her research interests include improvements to the quality of Canadian long-term care, inclusive of end-of-life care and quality of life.

Joseph landry

Research Assistant

Joseph Landry graduated the Algonquin College Practical Nursing program in 2019 and has worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse in multiple health disciplines across Canada. Through working in Long-Term-Care and providing at home End Of Life care, Joseph developed a passion for the palliative care approach and integrates it in his practice by advocating for holistic centered care. 

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