Health Workforce Education to Support Family Caregivers of Older Adults: Symposium March 2019

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The Canadian population is aging. Over 6.2 million Canadians are now 65 years of age or older. Although many seniors are active, healthy, and live independently, others are in need of health services and help with activities of daily living. More than 8 million Canadians provide care to a family member or friend, with more than 1 million of these caregivers over 65 years of age. While providing ongoing care for a senior with a disability or chronic disease, these family caregivers meet with many kinds of healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Consultation over the years with national and international stakeholders on this topic of family caregiving has identified a need to train and empower HCPs to formally recognize and support family caregivers.

With support from the Covenant Health Network of Excellence in Seniors’ Health & Wellness (the Network) and the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Dr. Jasneet Parmar and the research team held a two day symposium on March 14 & 15, 2019 with the overall goal to develop resources for training the health workforce to recognize and support family caregivers of seniors in care.

Over 50 collaborators and stakeholders gathered in Edmonton, AB on March 14 & 15, 2019 to:

Validate the competency indicators; Identify education/training modalities; Map strategies for implementation and dissemination; and Generate evaluation and research plans in this important area.


Delegates were fortunate enough to hear from local, national and internationally renowned speakers. Their presentations can be accessed below this list (see More Information):


  1. Sean Chilton, Vice President Health Professions & Practice – Health Workforce Training
  2. Dr. Anne Margriet Pot, Professor of Clinical Geropsychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.  Strategic Advisor Care for Older People, Health Care Inspectorate, Ministry of Health, The Netherlands – Training the health workforce to meet the needs of family caregivers: Caregiver-centred care
  3. Dr. Rhoda MacRae, Lecturer – Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice – From learning to practice: education to influence behaviour and attitudes
  4. Dr. Jenny Ploeg, Professor and Scientific Director, Aging, Community and Health Research Unit.  School of Nursing, McMaster University – Strategies for the spread and scale of education and training initiatives
  5. Dr. A. Paul Williams, Professor Emeritus, Health Policy.  Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation – Evaluating training programs and competencies: Creating a Culture Change in Education, Practice, and Policy to Support Caregiver Centred Care