Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing
- (780) 492-7961
4-005C Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Ave NWEdmonton ABT6G 1C9
- by appointment
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and:
- Thesis and dissertation students must include in the email (1) a cover letter describing how their area of interest fits with the CONNECT-QOL research program; (2) a 1-pg description of their research area of interest with reference to relevant literature; and (3) a CV.
- Prospective capstone students must include in the email (1) a cover letter describing how their interests fit with the CONNECT-QOL research program, and (2) a CV.
NURS 399B - Selected Topics in Nursing Research
The focus is on nursing research, nursing practice, and nursing as a discipline and a profession. Prerequisite: Consent of the Faculty.
NURS 598 - Translating Knowledge
Examine use of knowledge in diverse settings, by different stakeholders, and for various types of decision-making. Explore evidence-based decisions, guidelines, policies and procedures; quality improvement, and knowledge translation strategies.