Dementia Care Evidence: Contextual Dimensions that Influence Use in Northern Home Care Centres


  • Dorothy Forbes University of Alberta
  • Laurel Strain University of Alberta
  • Catherine Blake Western University
  • Shelley Peacock University of Saskatchewan
  • Wendy Harrison Alberta Health Services North Zone
  • Terri Woytkiw Alberta Health Services North Zone
  • Pamela Hawranik Athabasca University
  • Emily Thiessen University of Alberta
  • Amy Woolf University of Alberta
  • Debra Morgan University of Saskatchewan
  • Anthea Innes Bournemouth University
  • Maggie Gibson St. Joseph's Health Care London



Living and working in isolated northern communities pose challenges in using evidence to inform dementia care.

Purpose To better understand the contextual dimensions of two home care centres in two Canadian northern, rural communities that influence the use of evidence from the perspectives of home care providers (HCPs).

SampleAll clinical leaders, managers, and home care providers (n=48 FTE) in the two home care centres were sent an information letter outlining the study’s purpose, expectations, and benefits and invited to participate in focus groups conducted in two home care centres. Fourteen staff participated in the two focus groups.

Method: A qualitative interpretive descriptive approach was used. Semi-structured questions were used to guide the audiotape recorded focus groups. Transcripts were coded using Lubrosky’s thematic analysis.

FindingsOur findings are described in broad contextual themes (e.g., challenges in using the RAI-HC, availability of resources, relationships in a rural community, leadership, and evaluation) that included both positive and negative contextual dimensions that influenced the use of evidence.

ConclusionsMost importantly, reallocated resources are needed in northern home care settings. Challenges in exchanging evidence related to difficult relationships with physicians, clients, and their family caregivers. Leadership and collaboration dimensions were fundamental to establishing a vibrant workplace in which HCPs provided and exchanged evidence-based dementia care.

Keywords: Evidence-based dementia care, northern home care, home care contextual dimensions, knowledge exchange.


DOI: 10.14574/ojrnhc.v15i1.344

Author Biographies

Dorothy Forbes, University of Alberta

Professor, Faculty of Nursing

Laurel Strain, University of Alberta

Professor, Department of Sociology

Catherine Blake, Western University

Research Associate, Arthur Labatt School of Nursing

Shelley Peacock, University of Saskatchewan

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Wendy Harrison, Alberta Health Services North Zone

Vice President Rural, North East Operations (retired)

Terri Woytkiw, Alberta Health Services North Zone

Lead-Seniors Health Clinical Support, North Zone

Pamela Hawranik, Athabasca University

Professor & Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies

Emily Thiessen, University of Alberta

Graduate Nurse Practitioner, Research Assistant

Amy Woolf, University of Alberta

MN Student

Debra Morgan, University of Saskatchewan

Professor, College of Medicine Chair, Rural Health Delivery

Anthea Innes, Bournemouth University

Director, Bournemouth University Dementia Institute
Professor Health and Social Care Research

Maggie Gibson, St. Joseph's Health Care London

Psychologist, Veterans Care Program