Purpose: As the Canadian population ages the provision of high quality dementia care may be increasingly challenging, particularly in under-resourced rural areas. Researchers have also suggested that rural care providers have unmet dementia-related educational needs and would benefit from formal knowledge exchange supports, such as a knowledge broker (KB). The current research aimed to address this issue by employing a KB to facilitate the development and implementation of integrated knowledge translation (iKT) strategies within two rural home care centres.
Methods: In this longitudinal multiple case study, iKT processes at each site were assessed at baseline, 6 months, and following the termination of KB assistance. Data from 38 semi-structured interviews at the latter time points with registered and licensed practical nurses, health care aides, managers, and other care providers (n=19) were analyzed thematically to examine their perceptions of strategy processes and impacts, including the KB role.
Findings: Perceived facilitators of iKT strategy development and implementation included collaborative development by knowledge users, alignment with organizational values and culture, and regular communication. Home care providers (HCPs) identified the importance of leadership and perceived the KB to be integral for facilitating communication, keeping strategies on track, and brokering information. Barriers to strategy implementation also emerged however, including significant time constraints, limited resources, and the variable nature of dementia. HCP reported that the iKT strategies enabled rural/community-specific solutions, enhanced their knowledge and ability to use best practice dementia information, increased their capacity to exchange dementia knowledge, and ultimately enhanced family and client well-being.
Conclusions: HCPs reported professional benefits from their participation in the iKT strategies, and perceived benefits for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Findings suggest the utility of such strategies for addressing ongoing education needs of rural care providers.
Keywords: dementia, integrated knowledge translation, home care, rural
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