Extendicare Scholarship in Gerontology

I am a Master of Science in Nursing (thesis stream) student at McMaster University. Under the supervision of Dr. Jenny Ploeg, I am completing a thesis project that aims to study family caregivers’ experiences when a person living with dementia (PLWD) develops delirium before or during a hospitalization.

I chose to become a nurse, because of my experiences volunteering in a long-term care facility. I was impressed by the skilled and caring nurses, who provided person-centred care to older adults living with dementia and other chronic conditions.  I was inspired by this experience and hoped to make positive contributions to the care of older adults with dementia as a nurse. Following nursing school, I worked in an acute care setting and observed the distress experienced by family caregivers, when their elderly family member was admitted to the hospital with delirium. I wondered if there were evidence-informed strategies to support caregivers during this difficult time, and if caregivers could be trained to detect delirium. Filled with questions and a desire to contribute to evidence to support older persons and family caregivers, I entered graduate school. In my graduate studies, I learned about gaps existing within the literature about caregivers of persons with delirium on dementia. I have designed my thesis project to address these gaps and hope to make a contribution towards evidence-informed practice in the care of older persons and their caregivers. I am grateful to CNF and Extendicare for this award, which provides valuable support during my graduate education.