Profile of Lindsay Jibb

Connaught fund recipient to design pain management app supporting parents of children with cancer

14 December 2023

Lindsay Jibb an assistant professor at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing has received a Connaught New Researcher Award from the University of Toronto. This prestigious award will help fund one of her current projects, a digital health intervention that aims to assist parents of children with cancer in managing their child’s cancer pain at home.

“Receiving this award is an honour, especially knowing the calibre of new researchers I am joining across the university,” says Jibb. “This integral funding will allow my team and me to conduct important user testing with parents who are the key to our digital intervention success.”

The core of Jibb’s work and the design of this digital intervention, is grounded in understanding what parents want and need. She has worked hand in hand with the Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer (OPACC) Advisory group and conducted previous studies at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in the United States, where she and her team found that parents overwhelmingly indicated their need for real-time support and connection to clinicians once their child was no longer in hospital receiving treatment.

“The burden of caring and pain management for these children falls on parents when they are at home, and kids can experience frequent and sometimes severe cancer pain,” says Jibb. “The goal of our mobile app is to ease this burden and help both parents and children receive better quality pain management.”


The app includes a library of pharmacological advice as well as advice for psychological and physical symptoms children may be experiencing. The algorithm-based instructions tell a parent how to help their child respond to certain types of pain, which can include actions such as belly breathing, stretching, or mindfulness sessions. The advice is targeted to the parent based on their child’s age and development stage.  

In addition, a chat feature is being embedded into the app to further address the need for real-time support for parents. The chat option will connect parents with a nurse in hospital, allowing them to ask questions and seek nurse-led clinical pain support for their child when needed.

“Digital and mobile apps are used for a variety of reasons, and it is surprising that they are not more routinely used in health care. As technology continues to advance, particularly with artificial intelligence, the capacity to connect people who are outside the hospital with real-time care and support will hopefully continue to expand,” says Jibb.

Having completed earlier phases of this project with focus groups laying the land for what to include in the digital intervention, Jibb and her team will now turn their attention completing the design of the app and user testing, with a goal of rolling out a pilot to parents of children with cancer in early 2024.

 Jibb is one of 49 faculty members from across the University of Toronto to have received a Connaught Award, which for over 50 years, has supported early-career researchers across a range of disciplines, find solutions to global challenges.