Area of Study / Keywords
Quality of Life
Quality of Care
I am originally from Germany, where I completed my training as a registered nurse. For several years, I worked as a registered nurse in multiple care settings, including adult acute care, home care, long term care, and neurological rehabilitation. Throughout my career in research and practice, I have been passionate about improving the quality of care and quality of life for frail, older adults. This includes improving quality of work life for their professional caregivers as well as improving quality of life for their family/friend caregivers.
Academic and clinical training:
- Post-Doctoral Fellow (2014–2018), University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC)
- Dr rer medic in Health & Nursing Sciences (2010–2014), Martin-Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany and Ruprecht-Karls University, Heidelberg, Germany
- MSc in Health & Nursing Sciences (2008–2010), Martin-Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
- Diploma in Nursing Management (2003–2007), University of Applied Sciences, Esslingen, Germany
- Diploma in Nursing (1998–2001), Ludwigsburg Clinic Nursing School, Ludwigsburg, Germany
- Canadian Association Gerontology Recognition Award for Excellence in Longitudinal Research: In Honour of Betty Havens (2019)
- Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014–2017)
- Doctoral Fellowship, Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart, Germany (2010–2014)
COVID-19 related research:
I am leading the COVCARES-AB/BC study -- a survey study (link to survey) on the impact of COVID-19 on family members or friends of older adults living in assisted/supportive living homes in Alberta and British Columbia. More information is available on the study website.
I am also leading a study on assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the quality of life of older adults living in long-term care and asisted/supportive living homes -- the QoL-COV study.
General program of research:
The mission of my research program is to improve quality of life (QoL) for frail, older adults in need of ongoing care. It is my strong belief that an older person’s subjective QoL – their rating of whether they live well – is a key outcome in older adult care. QoL is a multi-dimensional concept that includes subjective and objective components – and objective circumstances (such as a person’s functional status, cognition, income or available social supports) shape that person’s subjective rating of their QoL. However, when exposed to similar objective circumstances, different individuals will rate their subjective situation differently. Continuing care needs to help older adults to achieve and maintain good subjective QoL. To do that, we need to improve (a) the quality of care provided to older adults, (b) the health and QoL of their family and friend caregivers, (c) the quality of work-life of their paid care providers and (d) the quality of healthcare policies and contexts in which these stakeholders are embedded in. A theoretical model, adapted from Vaarmela & Pieper (2014), guides my research and suggest dimensions of QoL and factors associated with QoL. One purpose of my research is to test components of this model empirically – especially the association between quality of care and QoL.
Areas I have been focusing on in my research include:
- The feasibility of routine measurement of QoL in long term care and assisted living settings
- Modifiable features of work environments (organizational context) and how they can be utilized to improve outcomes for older adults in need of care and their paid caregivers
- Quality of work life (e.g., physical/mental health, burnout, job satisfaction) of nursing home care staff
- Burdensome symptoms and potentially inappropriate care at the end of life of older adults
- Pragmatic intervention trials to test the effectiveness of innovative improvement strategies
- Analysis of long term care policies and their intended and unintended consequences for people in need of care, paid and family/friend caregivers, and the healthcare system
- The impact of COVID-19 and related public health measures on older adults in need of care, their family/friend caregivers and paid care staff
- Strategies to improve the quality of oral health assessments and oral health care in nursing home residents
I have experience and interest in a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. I have done scoping reviews, realist reviews, systematic reviews and meta analyses, I have experience with qualitative approaches (Grounded Theory, thematic analyses), and I am particularly strong in quantitative methods using large data bases. I have advanced skills in the development and psychometric testing of research tools. I have a particular interest in innovative, pragmatic intervention trial designs - especially in combination with comprehensive process evaluations, using a mixed methods approach to better understand how and why improvement processes are or are not successful and how intervention fidelity and implementation are associated with intervention effectiveness.
As principal investigator
- Alberta Innovates COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity: COVID-19 and Caregivers of Assisted living Residents: their Experiences and Support needs (COVCARES-AB/BC) (09/2020-08/2021, $328,376).
- Alzheimer Society of Canada New Investigator Grant: Routine quality of life measurement in moderate to severe dementia (05/2020–04/2022, $199,982).
- CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant: Evaluating aging in place initiatives: A pan-Canadian meeting to develop research priorities and a research grant (06/2019–05/2022, $20,000).
- Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta – Professorship: SPICY – Studying Policy Impact in Continuing Care SYstems (06/2018–12/2021, $225,000).
As co-principal investigator
- CIHR Operating Grant: COVID-19 Research Gaps and Priorities: The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on long term care home staff and residents (05/2021–04/2023, $756,890). Lead: Carole Estabrooks.
- Alberta Health: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 in Alberta LTC (TREC) homes (03/2021–02/2022, $571,000). Lead: Carole Estabrooks.
- CIHR Project Grant: Contextually Appropriate Nurse Staffing Models: A Critical Realist Review (04/2020–03/2023, $310,000). Lead: Greta Cummings.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Health Services Research Projects – R01 grant (PA-15-339): A Safer Assisted Living: Creating a Toolkit for Person and Family Engagement (04/2019–03/2022, 1.5 million USD). Lead: Anna Beeber.
- CIHR Project Grant: The Influence of Context on Implementation and Improvement (ICII) (10/2019–09/2023, $2.1 million). Lead: Carole Estabrooks.
- Pan-Canadian SPOR Network in PIHCI Operating Grant – Comparative Program and Policy Analysis: Evaluating Older Adult Care Continuums in Alberta and Mani-toba: A Comparative Analysis (10/2018–09/2021, $136,250). Lead: Malcolm Doupe.
- CIHR Project Grant: Sustainability, Sustainment and Spread Study (SSaSSy) (10/2018–09/2021, $967,724). Lead: Whitney Berta.
- CIHR Project Grant: Improving Pain Assessment in Nursing Home Residents with Dementias (04/2018–03/2021, $577,574). Lead: Jennifer Knopp-Sihota.
- CIHR Team Grant: Late Life Issues. SALTY: Seniors – Adding Life to Years (05/2016–04/2021, $1.8 million). Lead: Janice Keefe. I am the co-lead of theme 1: monitoring burdensome synptoms and potentially inappropriate care at the end of life.
- SSHRC Partnership grant. Consortium on Analytics for Data-Driven Decision-Making (CAnD3): Developing Talent for Population Analytics in Aging Societies (04/2020–03/2026, $2,499,996). Lead: Amélie Quesnel-Vallée.
- Coordinator of the Faculty of Nursing honors program
- Teaching lead of the honors courses NURS 399 (Selected Topics in Nursing Research) and NURS 499 (Scholarly Project in Nursing)
- NURS 399 - Selected Topics in Nursing Research (undergraduate honors course), Fall 2020, Winter 2021
- NURS 683 - Design Problems in Nursing Research (graduate course), Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021
- NURS 200 - Innovation, Systems Thinking, Leadership in Healthcare (undergraduate course), Winter 2020
- Melissa Ristau, PhD student, Project: TBD (will focus on older adults' quality of life)
- Rashmi Devkota, PhD student, co-supervision with Dr Greta Cummings, project: Unmet social care needs of older adults living in the community
- Shovana Shrestha, PhD student, co-supervision with Dr Greta Cummings, project: Knowledge translation strategies to improve care practices to manage chronic pain in nursing home residents
- Ambreen Gowani, PhD student, project: Translation, adaptation and validation of the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLWHFQ) for use in Pakistan
- Bita Mirhashemi, MSc student, academic advisor, project: TBD
- Cassidy Trotter, MSc student, capping exercise supervisor
- Jenny Lam, BSc Collaborative Honors student, project: Feasibility of routine measurement of quality of life in long-term care and assisted living settings
- Ian Simons, BSc After Degree Honors student, project: Feasibility of routine measurement of quality of life in long-term care and assisted living settings
- Mary Araneta, BSc Collaborative Honors student, project: The impact of COVID-19 on family caregivers of assisted living residents
- Nick Millar, PhD student, Supervisor: Dr Kathlen Hunter, project: evaluating age-friendly care models in acute care
- Kaitlyn Tate, PhD student, supervisor: Dr Greta Cummings, project: Developing and testing theoretical models of factors influencing older persons’ transitions to facility-based continuing care settings
- Bianca Shieu, PhD student (University of North Carolina, USA), supervisor: Dr Ruth Anderson, project: Comparison of older (65+ years) and younger (<65 years) nursing home residents
- Cass Dictus, PhD student (University of North Carolina, USA), supervisor: Dr Anna Beeber, project: Burdensome symptoms and potentially inappropriate care at the end of life of nursing home residents
- Katharina Choroschun, PhD student (University of Bielefeld, Germany), supervisor: Dr Ralf Ulrich, project: Comparing length of stay, mortality and associated factors between German and Western Canadian nursing homes