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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

SALTY team members have been busy this fall presenting project findings at national and international conferences. Insights and results from the four streams of the project: Monitor Care Practice, Map Care Relationships, Evaluate Innovative Practice and Examine Policy Context, were presented at the Biennial Global Aging Conference in Toronto in September. Team members evaluating a palliative approach to care in long term care (Evaluate Innovative Practice stream) presented findings at the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care conference in Ottawa, and, SALTY was very well represented at the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG2019) conference in October in Moncton. The team members from Map Care Relationships, Evaluate Innovative Practice and Examine Policy Context, shared results in several oral and poster sessions, and the Examine Policy Context team along with members of the SALTY Advisory Group and Knowledge Translation Advisory Group held a workshop on the rewards and pitfalls of authentic inclusion of stakeholders in the analysis of policies. Other national and international conferences, as well as knowledge translation and mobilization events, are being planned for the new year to share evidence from the SALTY research with various LTC stakeholder audiences. In addition, manuscripts summarizing research methodologies and findings are in progress and will be targeting scholarly journals in the coming months.

SALTY first manuscript, “Team-based integrated knowledge translation for enhancing quality of life in long term care settings: A multi-method, multi-sectoral research design”, has been accepted for publication by the International Journal of Health Policy and Management and is currently in press. This perspective on the SALTY Project’s integrated knowledge translation method of research will published in an upcoming issue of the journal early in 2020. A link to the in press article can be found here:

Study activities

The Monitoring Care Practice team (stream 1) led by Dr. Carole Estabrooks and Dr. Matthias Hoben at the University of Alberta have completed data collection with residents, family and caregivers using an action project methodology and have started analysis of that data. Currently the team is conducting Delphi panels with care staff to prioritize end of life outcomes from those perspectives and are preparing for quantitative analysis of data trajectory work.

Mapping Care Relationships team (stream 2) led by Dr. Tamara Daly, Dr. Ivy Bourgeault and Dr. Katie Aubrecht completed ethnographic fieldwork visiting 2 long term care facilities with promising relational approaches to care in each of the project jurisdictions (NS, ON, AB & BC). Coding and analysis of field notes and interviews is underway with preliminary findings having been shared at various international, national and local conferences and symposia, and plans to present findings at conferences in the new year.

Evaluating Innovative Practice (stream 3) led by Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, Dr. Denise Cloutier and Dr. Leah MacDonald evaluated the implementation of a quality improvement project, the integration of a palliative approach to care in long term care in Island Health. They have presented results at the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care and the Canadian Association on Gerontology conferences in September and October and will present results of their work as a storyboard at the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council Quality Forum in February. The team continues to work with the Palliative and End of Life Care team at Island Health to roll out the quality improvement project in long term care.

Examining Policy Context (stream 4)  led by Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Dee Taylor and Heather Cook completed policy analysis through the lenses of resident, family, care worker and volunteer across the four project jurisdictions (NS, ON, AB & BC). Preliminary findings have been presented at several national and international conferences. The team hosted a workshop on the rewards and pitfalls of authentic inclusion of stakeholders in the analysis of policies at the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) conference in October. Key informant interviews are currently being scheduled and plans are underway for policy forums across jurisdictions to present the analysis of key policy challenges and examples of alternative approaches.

The SALTY Trainee Network
,  to date there have been 23 trainees (postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students) across the four themes of the project supporting SALTY work. Currently there are 10 active trainees working on data analysis, and dissemination and mobilization activities. The project offers a rich, integrated training environment for emerging scholars to engage in research across disciplines, understand the complexities of long-term care and develop capacity to undertake a partnered and integrated knowledge exchange approach to produce user informed research. The trainee network meets regularly via video technology to share their work and project updates. Checkout the SALTY Trainee Network featured on CIHR’s Faces of Health Research.

The SALTY Advisory group,has helped shape the SALTY research since inception and development of the project. The group, composed of a long-term care resident, persons with dementia, family care givers, volunteer representatives and care aides, has provided feedback and input to SALTY researchers from the perspectives of those who will be most impacted by SALTY findings. The group has met regularly with researchers and other team members throughout the project and attended in-person and video conference team meetings. Their active engagement and commitment throughout the project has lent a valuable perspective to the design, methodology, and interpretation and dissemination of SALTY findings.

The SALTY KT Advisory Group provides input and advice to researchers regarding knowledge exchange, translation and dissemination activities with the aim to increase the uptake and impact of SALTY outputs. The group, composed of decision makers, clinicians and knowledge users from the long term care sector across project jurisdictions has met regularly with researchers providing input and feedback on methodology, and interpretation of insights and findings. They have been active in the planning and organization of team meetings to maximize knowledge exchange and planning for dissemination and mobilization of project 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.

      • SALTY-Photo_OLTCA_2019-09-18_oltca203_HobenM (002)September - Workshop presentation to the Ontario Long Term Care Association: This is Long Term Care 2019 Conference in Toronto by Dr. Janice Keefe & Dr. Mathias Hoben on how SALTY research informs quality of life for older adults living in residential long-term care.

      • SALTY-Photo_CHPC_2019-09-21_RolandK_cropped (002)September - Oral presentation on integrating a palliative approach in long-term care homes and poster presentation on the development and integration of a palliative approach to care strategy by Kailyn Roland, stream 3 Research Associate, at the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care conference in Ottawa.

        • October – Dr. Katie Aubrecht, stream 2 Co-Lead Investigator presented “A room with a view: unpacking decision maker perceptions and assumptions about the meaning of quality long-term care” at the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) 2019.

          SALTY-Photo_CAG_Strm4_wrkshp_2019-10-25_1016_cropped•    October - Two oral presentations by stream 3 Co-Lead Dr. Denise Cloutier at the Canadian Association of Gerontology 2019 conference. One on the evaluation of a palliative approach to care in long term care, and the other on the challenges of implementing palliative approaches in long term care.

          •    October - Dr. Dee Taylor, stream 4 Co-Lead Investigator and advisory group members  Sandra Bauld, Faye Forbes and Corrine Schalm held a workshop at the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) 2019 conference titled “The rewards and pitfalls of authentic inclusion of stakeholders in the analysis of nursing home policies”. SALTY Trainee, Emily Hubley, also presented a Stream 4 poster on the role of volunteers in enhancing resident quality of life in long term care.