Implementing a restorative approach in long term care to heal and learn from the harms of COVID-19

This Health System Impact Fellowship is co-funded by CIHR, Michael Smith Health Research BC, and the Interior Health Authority (health system partner), to help build BC’s health policy research capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making.


It has become increasingly common that aging members of our population require healthcare services to support them. Many Canadians spend their final years in long-term care (LTC) facilities as a result. LTC facilities have been under scrutiny in recent years with respect to quality of care and inadequacy of resources, along with concerns about their increased privatization. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of the state of LTC facilities across Canada. There is broad acknowledgement that improvements must be implemented to make the experience and safety of residents of LTC facilities better.


Our intended research is interested in understanding the experiences of harm that residents, family members, and healthcare workers have encountered, particularly those during the COVID-19 pandemic. This proposed project will aim to listen to the stories of patients, families and healthcare workers who have been adversely affected by restricted visitation policies, the loss of residents, and burnout, as a way to better understand the context of LTC, to facilitate a Restorative Community of Care for healing, and to learn from these situations to inform subsequent action.


This initiative will be facilitated using a restorative approach and will be comprised of three phases: listening to understand, planning for future actions, and reporting and evaluating the results of this process. A restorative approach is a principle-based approach that fosters a relational way of thinking and being and is carried out through facilitated dialogue with the intention of speaking openly about the harm experienced and to work together to heal from that harm and to learn from the past to improve the future. This approach supports respect, dignity and mutual care and concern between people, communities, healthcare providers, and the health system.


Source: CIHR Funding Decisions Database