Chairholder: Lorraine Venturato, BBus (Hlth Admin), BN (Hons), PhD
The Faculty of Nursing's second research chair - the Chair in Gerontological Nursing – was announced in 2014 and focuses on strengthening ties between health care educators, researchers and service providers and developing nursing expertise in this field.
Lorraine Venturato, BBus (Hlth Admin), BN (Hons), PhD, joined the faculty from Griffith University in Queensland Australia. She began her nursing career in a long-term care facility in Brisbane which sparked an early interest in working with older adults. She continued with this population across a variety of acute, long-term and community settings before moving into education and research.
Her program of research explores models of service delivery and workforce development across community and long-term care settings. In 2007, Venturato was instrumental in establishing an innovative partnership between Griffith University and RSL Care (one of the largest providers of community and long-term care for older people in Queensland) that focused on integrating research and practice in care of older people through the development of a joint research fellow position and an industry-focused research program.
Integrating research, education and practice
“This program with RSL Care was an important step in the integration of research, education and practice," she says. "We developed innovative models of care, built clinical care and research capacity and established and embedded an evidence-based culture within the aged care environment.”
Venturato has coordinated national workforce development workshops around Australia for the aged care industry and government policy makers and is recognized as a leader in aged care workforce development and research in Australia.
Her clinical research focuses on dementia care and workforce issues associated with the care of older people with dementia. She is an active member of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre and the Dementia Training Study Centre in Australia.
"We are truly excited to announce this chair and to have Dr Venturato join us," says Dianne Tapp, professor and dean of the Faculty of Nursing. "The issues around the care of older adults in Canada are challenging and our experiences here are not dissimilar from those of other developed nations. With Lorraine Venturato's knowledge from her work in Australia and her ongoing research now in Canada, we know the University of Calgary can become a hub for innovative thought around seniors' health care."
Many parallels between health care in Australia and Canada
Despite the drastic change in climate, Venturato is enthusiastically leaping into the Alberta health care scene and is confident the transition to the Canadian system will not be onerous. "There are very general similarities between Australia and Canada when it comes to the older adult and health, including increasing demand for high quality cost effective care, staffing shortages and skill mix issues, increases in chronic diseases and consumer involvement in care with an increasingly regulated operating environment, " she says.
“We know demand for high quality specialized aged care service is growing, both in relation to community care options and residential care services. I think one of the biggest challenges for aged care service providers, educators and researchers is to find ways to come together, with consumers, to begin to address not just current needs, but to also explore and reshape service delivery for older people into the future. I am really looking forward to taking on that challenge here in Alberta.”
The chair is internally funded through revenues generated in support of the Faculty of Nursing operating budget.
Venturato has also been appointed co-leader of a cross-faculty team to explore early identification of and interventions for dementia. The Dementia and Cognitive Disorders Neuro Team is an initiative in support of the university's Brain and Mental Health Research Strategy to support the work of more than 200 researchers at the University of Calgary who are making a global impact in brain and mental health research, unlocking discoveries and innovative new treatments. The Healthy Brain Aging Research Theme is part of the new strategy's focus.