• Postdoctoral fellowship (CIHR), Health Interventions, School of Nursing, Ryerson University (2017)
• PhD, Nursing, University of Alberta (2015)
• BScN (honors), University of Alberta (2008)
Dr O’Rourke leads the Connecting for Quality of Life Across the Lifespan (CONNECT-QOL) research program. The primary aim of the CONNECT-QOL research program is to design, evaluate and disseminate interventions to improve feelings of social connection and quality of life for people living with dementia and their family and friend caregivers. She applies systematic and scoping review methodology to promote understanding of quality of life from the perspectives of people with dementia, describe the meaning of social connectedness and loneliness for populations of older adults, and assess efficacy of interventions used with people with dementia to promote their quality of life.
Social connectedness—perceptions of intimacy and belonging in relationships with others— is a priority for quality of life according to people with dementia in Canada and internationally. Applying methodology for the development of complex interventions, Dr O’Rourke identified and adapted several interventions for use with people living with dementia and their family and friends caregivers to address loneliness and promote social connectedness. Interventions will be tested in clinical trials to assess whether and how well the interventions work, contextualizing the findings for sub-populations of people with dementia. Interventions currently under development include a social support intervention (MT4C-In Care), a personal contact intervention (Connecting Today), and a music-based group activity intervention (Music Connects Us).
The goal of this program of research is to produce effective interventions to promote social connectedness, and which people with dementia and their family, friends and health care providers find acceptable for use in real world settings. Ultimately, this research aims to have a meaningful impact on quality of life, as it is defined and understood by people with dementia.
CURRENT GRANTS (Nominated Principal Applicant)
Feasibility and acceptability of personal contact interventions to address loneliness for people with mild-to-moderate dementia in long-term care. Alzheimer's Society New Investigator Grant, 2018-2022 ($180, 000). NPA: O'Rourke HM.
Adaptation of the 'Music for Life' intervention for use in the Alberta continuing care context. CIHR Planning & Dissemination Grants--ICS, 2018-2019 ($10, 500). NPA: O'Rourke HM. Co-As: Bartel L, Hopper T, Woodhead Lyons S.
Supporting family caregivers of persons living with dementia: Effectiveness and sustainability of My Tools 4 Care-In Care. Public Health Agency of Canada Invitation to Submit a Funding Request, 2019-2023 ($888,052). NPA: O’Rourke HM. Co-PI: Duggleby W. Co-As: Baxter P, Peacock S, Thompson G, Holroyd-Leduc J, McAiney C, Ghosh S, Nekoliachuk C, Dube V.
In the undergraduate program, I have taught undergraduate research and statistics courses, and most recently Foundations of Nursing (I).
In the graduate program, I teach courses related to systematic review methodology and knowledge translation.
Mentorship and Supervision
I work collaboratively with undergraduate and graduate students to advance their research training in an area of interest related to the quality of life of people living with dementia. Preference is given to students focused specifically on social well-being, and that aim to apply systematic review or mixed methods approaches to develop or evaluate complex clinical interventions for use with people living with dementia. Students focused on social well-being in other gerontological populations may also be considered.
Interested students should email email@example.com and:
This course examines the scientific, theoretical, and historical underpinnings of the distinct but related fields of knowledge utilization, knowledge translation and innovation diffusion. Attention is given to contemporary manifestations in Canadian society such as evidence-based/evidence-informed decision-making, and in health care such as evidence-based medicine, and evidence-based practice. Particular attention will be given to the challenges of knowledge use in complex organizations and in the use of strategies to increase the use of knowledge, primarily although not exclusively the use of scientific knowledge. The course will focus on the central conceptual and methodological challenges in the field.Fall Term 2021
This leadership experience provides opportunity to consolidate prior learning and develop confidence and competence as students prepare to transition to the role of the Registered Nurse. The focus is on collaboration with interprofessional teams, systems thinking, and healthcare system change. Students evaluate the influence of evidence, policy and legislation on decision-making in complex health systems using a relational practice lens. Students demonstrate and enhance their own relational capacity as leaders and innovators for 21st Century Canadian healthcare. Fieldwork includes 300 clinical hours total. Prerequisites: All courses in the program except NURS 422 and NURS 485. Corequisite: NURS 422.Fall Term 2021