Evaluating Older Adult Care Continuums in Alberta and Manitoba: A Comparative Analysis

Lay Title: Comparing How Home Care, Supportive Housing, and Nursing Homes are Used Differently Between Winnipeg and Edmonton

Nominated Principal Applicant: Dr. Malcolm B. Doupe (University of Manitoba)

Team members from Alberta:

  1. Community Members: Lynne Mansell, Ingrid Crowther, and Grant Geldhart.
  2. Decision Makers: Corinne Schalm (Executive Director, Alberta Health), Carmen Grabusic (Director, Program Policy and Quality Improvement, Continuing Care, Alberta Health), Carol Anderson (Executive Director, Continuing Care, Alberta Health Services), and Dr. Douglas Faulder (Medical Director, Continuing Care, Alberta Health Services).
  3. Researchers: Andrea Gruneir, Dr. Adrian Wagg, Matthias Hoben


Older people are the main users of publicly funded care continuums comprised of home care, various types of community-based housing with health services care options (called supportive housing in this research), and nursing homes. While this basic continuum exists across Canada, provinces vary greatly in terms of the number and type of services that they offer. This is especially the case in Manitoba and Alberta. Manitoba has the second largest supply of nursing home beds in Canada but has one type of supportive housing. Alberta has the smallest supply of nursing home beds in Canada with four levels of supportive housing. No research examines how these different continuums work. We don't know (for example) how often nursing home residents in one province remain in the community in the other, or how often people have long hospital stays when transferring along the continuum. We also don't know what older people think of these care options, and how often things like high user-fees stop them from using the services they want. This knowledge is required to know how care continuums are working and also to identify where improvement is needed.

This research will compare the different care continuums in Manitoba and Alberta. We will first compare the number and type of services that exist and also the policies governing their use (e.g., admission criteria, user fees). Using healthcare use records from Winnipeg (Manitoba) and Edmonton (Alberta), we will then compare how people actually use these continuums along with other healthcare services (e.g., long hospital stays as people transfer from one continuing care sector to the next). We will also conduct interviews with users and providers, to get their perspective on how well their continuum works and where improvement is needed. Our results will help planners to better understand the strengths and challenges of their own care continuum, and to see the benefits of adopting certain features used elsewhere.

The Alberta SPOR PIHCIN will provide support for this project in the following areas:

  • Access to networking support in Alberta and nationally through the SPOR PIHCI network of networks;
  • Assistance in patient recruitment from Alberta;
  • Liaison with the SPOR SUPPORT Unit Patient Engagement Platform for patient recruitment from Alberta;
  • Facilitate collaboration with the Alberta Health Services Seniors' Strategic Clinical Network
  • Liaison with Alberta Health;
  • Provision of feedback from a panel of patients and community members for the network letter of intent; and
  • Facilitation of requested expertise from the seven Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Platforms to ensure that integration from research into care has a significant positive impact for patients and the health care system. 

Conference presentation: (to be updated)

Publication: (to be updated)

Contact information:

Dr. Malcolm B. Doupe

University of Manitoba