Dr Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard holds a CNFS Research Chair in Population Aging, is an associate professor at the School of Nursing, and Director of the Centre for Aging Research at Université de Moncton. She is the current President of the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG), Chair of the National Seniors Council and co-chaired the Government of New Brunswick Council on Aging. She completed a PhD in Nursing from the University of Alberta, a Master of Nursing from the University of New Brunswick and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Université de Moncton. Her program of research focuses on the multiple facets of aging in place with a special focus on older adults living in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMC).
Nursing Homes Without Walls: An Innovative Model for Aging in Place
It is well known that the majority of older adults want to stay in their home for as long as possible; however, services may not always be available and person-centred. In order to counter some of the challenges related to services for aging in place, the notion of nursing homes providing services to older adults’ living at home in their local community is currently being explored. Nursing homes would provide services that would allow older adults to remain at home while reducing early admission to long-term care and eliminating visits to the Emergency Department in a state of crisis.
The overall goal of this research is to develop a new service delivery model for aging in place titled Nursing Homes Without Walls. The project has three objectives: 1) Understand the perceptions of members of the community towards their local nursing home providing services for aging in place; 2) Identify the needs of seniors and their families for aging in place; and 3) Identify the means by which the local nursing home can offer services for aging in place.
A qualitative descriptive study was conducted with four rural nursing homes in the province of New Brunswick (Canada) in the Fall 2017. Data collection has taken two forms: a group discussion with the members of the Board of Directors of each nursing home and then a community gathering where members of the community come together and are then divided into small groups of seven to eight participants for focused discussion. An average of 50 individuals in each community has participated in the discussion. Participants were recruited by advertisements, invited to a discussion with respect to the local nursing home offering services for aging in place. Data analysis has consisted of transcribing the small group discussions notes and grouping together similar responses in order to identify the most common needs in each community, the suggested actions and possible collaborators. Two of the four nursing homes in the study are currently developing a plan of action for implementing the model Nursing Homes Without Walls.
Future direction of this research includes funding a nursing home to implement Nursing Homes Without Walls with the goal of developing a prototype that could be replicated in other nursing homes in the province with potential for a national adaptation. This model is part of a vision where nursing homes become the “hub” of the community for everything aging.