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Seniors – Adding Life to Years (SALTY) Project SALTY logo

Everyone wants to live well in their final years but this may be a challenge, particularly for people living in residential long term care settings. Seniors - Adding Life To Years (SALTY) is a project developed by researchers, care providers, care administrators, policy makers and older adults and their families from across Canada. SALTY is a four-year research project that aims to add quality to late life for people living in residential long term care and for their caregivers, including family, friends, and volunteers who support their care. SALTY’s research is organized into four interrelated streams: Monitor Care Practice, Map Promising Approaches to Care Relationships, Evaluative Implementation of Innovative Practice, and Examine Policy Context. The project which employs diverse and multiple methods is being conducted in four Canadian provinces - British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia. SALTY results will have relevance for jurisdictions across Canada.

SALTY was developed under the direction of Dr. Janice Keefe at the lead institution, Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia.

Funding was approved and the SALTY project was launched in April 2016. Check back frequently to see updates on the progress of the project.

We're Hiring
Postdoctoral Position, Examining Policy Context


SALTY Project Leads:

KeefeScientific Lead
Janice Keefe, PhD

Director Nova Scotia Centre on Aging
Lena Isabel Jodrey Chair in Gerontology
Mount Saint Vincent University,
Department of Family Studies and Gerontology

EstabrooksScientific Co-Lead
Carole Estabrooks, PhD

Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation
University of Alberta,
Faculty of Nursing

Cook_no white frameKnowledge User Lead

Heather Cook, BScN, MScN

Director, Systemic Review and Research Office of the Seniors Advocate, BC.



MacDonaldClinical Lead
Leah MacDonald, PhD  

Medical Director,
Home and Community Care/ End of Life Program
Island Health, British Columbia

FifieldResident and Family Lead
Heather Fifield

Family Caregiver
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

What’s the Latest News

SALTY reaches the mid-point of the project! 

April 1st, 2018 marked the beginning of the third year of the four-year SALTY project. Project leads, and knowledge user representatives from the four study provinces (NS, ON, AB and BC), will meet at the end of April to review the accomplishments of the first half of the project and strategize and plan the final two years. 

Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Carole Estabrooks, Dr. Ivy Bourgeault and Dr. Denise Cloutier will conduct a panel presentation sharing preliminary findings and insights from the SALTY Project at the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) 2018 conference in Montreal in May.  

A second full team videoconference is planned for June. Videoconferencing allows us to bring our team of over 60 together through 10+ video sites to provide updates and discussion on the project progress.
The Monitoring Care Practice team (stream 1) led by Dr. Carole Estabrooks and Dr. Matthias Hoben are currently conducting online surveys of health providers, clinicians and facility managers, and planning interviews with care aides, residents and family members.

Mapping Care Relationships team (stream 2) led by Dr. Tamara Daly, Dr. Ivy Bourgeault and Dr. Katie Aubrecht, completed a training session of their ethnographic research methodology at a pilot site in January. They will complete their Ontario fieldwork late in April and in NS in the summer.
The team at the University of Victoria (stream 3) led by Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, Dr. Denise Cloutier and Dr. Leah MacDonald have completed their baseline data collection and have started on their second round of collection at residential care facilities in Island Health to support their evaluation of an end of life implementation project.

The team evaluating policy context across the four study provinces (NS, ON, AB and BC) (stream 4) led by Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Dee Taylor and Heather Cook continues their policy review through the lenses of residents, care workers, family and volunteers. They have submitted an abstract to the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Scientific Meeting highlighting policy difference between jurisdictions when considering friend/family caregiver involvement in resident quality end of life.

The SALTY Trainee Network, which spans the four project streams, continues to meet regularly sharing their experiences and work.

The SALTY Advisory group welcomed a resident representative in the fall and continues to meet quarterly, as does the SALTY KT Advisory Group.


The project is funded from April 2016 – March 2020 through a Late Life Issues grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, in partnership with Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation and Alzheimer Society of Canada

Project Milestones


  • April - Project received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.
  • May - 2 project trainees participated in the 2016 CIHR Institute of Aging's Summer Program in Aging in Toronto focused on the theme of "Recognizing Frailty and Improving Care".
  • SALTY teamSeptember - First in-person team meeting – Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 18th – 20th.

  • September - Dr. Janice Keefe and Dr. Matthias Hoben presented a webinar entitled Improving End of Life care in Long term care on September 27, 2016. This was an integrated KTE webinar event by brainXchange in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). View the archived webinar here.
  • December - Meeting of Stream 4 Team to discuss policy document selection and analysis approach.
  • January - In-person meeting of Stream 1 Team to discuss data collection and other stream activities.


  • May - Full team meeting via video conference technology, May 9.
  • May – Dr. Katie Aubrecht presented “Seniors – Adding Life to Years: A Canadian Project Focusing on Late Life Long Term Care” poster at the Canadian Disability Studies Association 2017 conference in Toronto.
  • June - In person meeting of Stream 2 to discuss stream activities.
  • June - Stream 4 completed the policy document retrieval and coding.
  • June – “Seniors – Adding Life to Years: A Canadian Project Focusing on Late Life Long Term Care” poster displayed at Northwood Research Symposium.
  • July – Dr. Dee Taylor presented “Finding rabbit holes without falling in: Navigating palliative care policy in Canadian Long-term Care” poster at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) 2017 World Congress in San Francisco.
  • November – Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Dr. Matthias Hoben, Dr. Della Roberts and Dr. Dee Taylor hosted a NS provincial sector workshop at Mount Saint Vincent University for key decision makers and stakeholders from the Nova Scotia long term care sector.

  • January – In-person meeting of stream 1 to discuss stream activities.
  • January - Stream 2 team training in ethnographic methodology at a pilot site in Ontario.
  • April - meeting of team leads and knowledge user representative from each province to review progress and plan for remainder of project
  • CHASPER conferenceMay - panel presentation by stream leads at Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research Conference, Montreal