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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 long term care settings. Seniors - Adding Life to Years (SALTY) is a four-year research project, developed by researchers, care providers, care administrators, policy makers and older adults and their families from across Canada. The project aims to add quality to late life for people living in long term care and for their caregivers, including family, friends, volunteers and care workers who support their care. SALTY’s research is organized into four interrelated streams: Monitor Care Practice, Map Promising Approaches to Care Relationships, Evaluate 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 and 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.

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

Check back frequently to see updates on the progress of the project.

SALTY Overall Project Leads:

KeefeScientific Lead
Janice Keefe, PhD

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

EstabrooksScientific Co-Lead
Carole Estabrooks, PhD

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

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

April 1st, 2019 marked the beginning of the fourth and final year for the SALTY project and what a busy start it has been!

The project’s team of 40+ investigators, clinicians, decision makers and trainees met over 2 days in late May for discussion around the project work to date and knowledge exchange and mobilization plans for the final year. This face-to-face opportunity allowed for engaging discussions with input and interpretation from the many and varied team perspectives. Researchers will now work to complete analyses, finalize key project messages and share results with relevant sectors and audiences.

In April, our “Monitoring Care Practice” and “Evaluating Innovative Practice” research teams were featured in a brainXchange webinar hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. And, in June, the Northwood Research Symposium in Halifax featured a panel with four project investigators, two via video technology, sharing findings to date about clinical, social and policy approaches that can support an enhanced quality of life in long term care.

Findings and insights to date were also shared in May at: the Qualitatives Conference, Fredericton, NB, the Trent Aging 2019 joint conference of the North American and European Networks on Aging, Perterborough, ON and the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) conference, Halifax, NS.

Several manuscripts, both project and study stream level, are in final draft stage and we anticipate our first publications in the coming months. In the fall, findings will be shared at the Biennial Global Aging Conference in Toronto in September, the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care (CHPC) conference, in Ottawa in September and the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) conference in Moncton in October. In addition, in the coming year we will be planning policy forums across our four jurisdictions to share integrated jurisdiction specific findings from our policy analysis and ethnographic research, to better understand the tensions within long term care policies and how they play out as the lived experience of residents and others in LTC.

Study stream activities

The Monitoring Care Practice team (stream 1) led by Dr. Carole Estabrooks and Dr. Matthias Hoben at the University of Alberta completed Delphi webinars with decision makers, advisory group members (both SALTY and TREC Voices), and online surveys with care staff. The Dephi webinars allowed the team to prioritize outcomes of quality of care at end of life using RAI-MDS 2.0 data from from these perspectives. Dr. Hoben has presented their Delphi methodology at the Canadian Association of Gerontology (CAG) 2018. Preliminary findings were presented on an April 2019 brainXchange webinar hosted by Alzheimer Society of Canada, and via video technology as part of a featured SALTY panel presentation at the Northwood Research Symposium in Halifax in June 2019. Currently the team is using an action project methodology to capture resident and family experiences/perspectives on symptoms and care in LTC.

Mapping Care Relationships team(stream 2) is led by Dr. Tamara Daly, Dr. Ivy Bourgeault and Dr. Katie Aubrecht. The researchers from this team have completed their fieldwork at LTC sites in Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia and the first of two sites in Alberta and analysis has started on this work. Preliminary insights from their work were presented at the Qualitatives Conference, Trent Aging joint international conference of the North American and European Networks in Aging, and at the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research, all in May 2019. In June, Dr. Aubrecht presented insights as part of the SALTY panel featured at the Northwood Research Symposium in Halifax.

Evaluating Innovative Practice (stream 3) led by Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, Dr. Denise Cloutier and Dr. Leah MacDonald have completed their initial data analysis of the evaluation of an end of life implementation project in long term care facilities in Island Health, BC. Preliminary findings were presented on an April 2019 brainXchange webinar hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Dr. Cloutier presented findings via video technology as part of the SALTY panel featured at the Northwood Research Symposium in Halifax in June. Final drafts of four manuscripts are in the works with the first publication expected in the coming months.

Examining Policy Context (stream 4) led by Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Dee Taylor and Heather Cook are completing their policy analysis through the lenses of residents, care workers, family and volunteers. Preliminary findings from the comparison of long term policy across jurisdictions have been presented from the resident perspective at CAG2018, the family/friend caregiver perspective at GSA2018 and the staff perspective at CAHSPR in 2019. Key informant interviews will be conducted this summer and policy forums, to present the analysis of key policy challenges and examples of alternative approaches from other jurisdictions, will be planned for fall 2019/winter 2020.

The SALTY Trainee Network
, over the course of the project there have been 20 trainees, including postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students. Currently there are 7 active trainees across three of the study teams who meet regularly via video technology to share their work and get updates from the four project teams. In May, prior to the start of the full team meeting, the trainees had an opportunity to meet in-person and attend a workshop on how to communicate and present research to various stakeholder audiences and engage with decision makers. See the SALTY Trainee Network featured on CIHR’s Faces of Health Research.

The SALTY Advisory group, has helped shape the SALTY research throughout all phases of the project. The group composed of a long term care resident, persons with dementia, and family caregivers, volunteers, and care aids of residents living in long term care, provide input and feedback to SALTY researchers from the perspectives of those who will be most impacted by SALTY findings. They have met regularly with the research teams throughout the project and most recently attended the in-person team meeting in Halifax providing their insights and interpretations regarding the SALTY work to date.

The SALTY KT Advisory Group provides input and advice to the research teams on specific knowledge exchange, translation and dissemination activities. The group is composed of knowledge users, clinicians and decision makers from the LTC sector from across the jurisdictions. They have met regularly with study teams and project leads throughout the life of the project. The KT advisory group ensures that knowledge exchange is maximized across the four project streams and that our knowledge exchange, dissemination and mobilization plans align with the principles of the project’s iKT plan. Most recently the group provided feedback on the planning and organization of the in-person team meeting in Halifax to maximize knowledge exchange. At the meeting, members provided feedback and interpretation regarding SALTY work and plans for dissemination and knowledge translation of findings and key messages.

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.


  • SALTY 2May - 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.
  • SALTY 3July – 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.

  • SALTY 4November – 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.
  • SALTY 5April - 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

  • June – 2nd full team meeting via video conference, June 18
  • DSC_0646August – SALTY Trainees Prince Owusu and Lily Lu attended the Knowledge Mobilization Master Class at the International Federation on Aging (IFA) conference in Toronto on August 7th.

  • October – Oral presentation of the findings from the comparison of long-term care policy across project jurisdictions from a resident perspective by Dee Taylor at the Canadian Association on Gerontology Scientific Meeting
  • October – Poster presentation on the innovative method used to integrate key stakeholders in SALTY research on end-of-life in nursing homes using web-based Delphi panels by Matthias Hoben at the Canadian Association on Gerontology Scientific Meeting
    Matthias Hoben

  • November – oral presentation by Janice Keefe at the Gerontological Society of America scientific meeting on the findings of policy differences between jurisdictions when considering family/fiend caregiver involvement in resident quality of life


  • February – full team video conference meeting to share and discuss project stream finding

  • April – BrainXchange webinar hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Canada sharing findings and insights from Monitoring Care Practice (stream 1) and Evaluating Innovative Practice (stream 3).
  • May – Oral presentation at the Qualitatives Conference on insider/outsider dilemmas in late life long term care ethnographic research by Katie Aubrecht.
  • May – SALTY Trainee workshop – in-person Halifax, NS May 26th.
  • DSC_1483May – In-person team meeting – Halifax, NS May 27th – 28th.

  • SALTY oral presentation Trent UniversityMay – Oral panel presentations on embodying qualities of everyday lives in long term care by Tamara Daly, Susan Braedley, Katie Aubrecht, Prince Owusu and Vasuki Shanmuganathan at the Trent Aging joint conference of North American and European Networks on Aging.

    • May – Poster presentations at the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR) conference by: Ivy Bourgeault on criteria for selecting quality long term care homes with promising social approaches, and Dee Taylor on the interaction of resident quality of life with policies that govern staff.
    •  JunSALTY presentation at Northwoode – Featured panel presentation at the Northwood Research Symposium on the cross stream emerging evidence to support quality of life in long term careby Janice Keefe and Katie Aubrecht in-person, and Denise Cloutier and Matthias Hoben via video technology.