Christine A. Walsh, PhD, Professor and Associate DeanResearch and Partnerships, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. Her research interests are diverse and include exclusion and integration of ethno-cultural diverse older adults, homeless aging populations, age-friendly communities and teaching gerontology. She also conducts research on violence across the lifespan, including elder abuse. Her action oriented, arts-inspired, community-based research aims to improve the lives of marginalized populations including those impacted by poverty and homelessness, those involved in the justice system, and Indigenous Peoples.
Key Issues and Possibilities in Continuing Care in Alberta
The continuing care system in Alberta needs improvement. Although the literature points to prioritizing the needs of clients/residents in these settings to achieve this aim, little information from the perspectives of care recipients specific to the Albertan context is available to guide this process. Thus, the purpose of this exploratory, qualitative study was to develop recommendations for improving the system for care recipients in Alberta based on the perspectives of formal and informal care providers including family members. We conducted in-depth, individual and focus group interviews with formal (n=17) and informal (n=65) care providers. Using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six-step thematic analysis process we determined four major themes: Capacity and Appropriateness; Care; Policies and Practices Impacting Front Line Care; and Quality of Life. The lack of knowledge in distinguishing between the public and private care in study participants’ discussions of ‘affordability,’ ‘private care’ and ‘privatization’, suggests the need to enhance public knowledge about such services and options. The importance of continuity of care and the link between continuity and quality of care, and quality of life was highlighted by many participants. Thus, an important area for future research is the intersectionality of such factors and processes (e.g., continuity of care, quality of care, quality of life, staff pay, basic educational requirements, management support for ongoing training, and overall management and leadership). Findings from this study are being used to stimulate broad community conversations in order to inform the development and implementation of policies, programming, and practices aimed at improving the continuing care system in Alberta.