Dr. Veronique Boscart is the CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care at Conestoga College working on studies to improve care for seniors and training for gerontology nurses in Canada.
Dr. Boscart leads Conestoga’s activities with the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging, in Kitchener, Ontario. The institute’s mandate is to enhance the quality of life and care for older adults through research, education, and practice. The focus of Dr. Boscart’s efforts is the development of evidence-informed training programs for staff already working in long term care, and for students in post-secondary programs that lead to careers working with seniors.
Dr. Boscart has extensive experience as a clinician, nurse educator, manager, and researcher and is committed to advancing education and research to improve care for Canada’s growing population of seniors. She holds graduate degrees in both Nursing and Education and completed her PhD at the University of Toronto.
“Most health care programs in Canada don’t have a mandatory component in gerontology,” said Boscart. “The majority of training is still focused on acute care, when in fact, most seniors require chronic care management in a community setting.”
Studies project that by 2036, one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65, and one in 11 will suffer from dementia. This demographic shift will have a tremendous impact on our health care system. According to Statistics Canada, three in 10 Canadians require long term care by age 65, and five in 10 require such care by age 75.
To address the gap between evidence-informed knowledge and practice in the area of seniors care, Boscart conducts applied research studies to identify practices that will improve quality of care for older adults, to adapt curriculum to improve graduates’ knowledge, skills and attitudes for seniors care, and to develop future leaders for gerontological nursing.
“We need to focus on innovative education strategies,” Dr. Boscart said. “Students and new grads don’t always learn how complex the care for seniors can be, and how important it is to fully understand what is happening to their patients.”
Dr. Boscart’s research has been instrumental in the development of new training strategies to improve care for older adults, including the establishment of collaborative Living Classrooms that provide students with experiential learning opportunities working with seniors in real-world, long term care environments. In addition to her role as research chair, Dr. Boscart continues to work as a gerontological nurse in an emergency department and in long term care. She is president-elect of the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association.
According to Josie d’Avernas, vice president of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, “Veronique’s leadership as CIHR-Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care has touched the lives of residents living in our Villages and beyond, and will continue to do so for years to come. Students in Nursing and PSW programs have a new enthusiasm for pursuing careers working with older adults, thanks to enhanced gerontology content, teaching and mentorship by Dr. Boscart. A new way of learning is finding its roots in the living classroom model – where students learn in situ within a long term care environment.”