Associate Professor Dr. Monica Parry has been awarded a knowledge synthesis grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research for her study, Family Carers and COVID-19. Dr. Parry’s overall aim is to develop and evaluate a population-based intervention to improve the mental health and wellbeing of family carers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Family carers provide unpaid care and are the backbone of the Canadian healthcare system. 46% of Canadians are in caregiving roles, and most (54%) are women between the ages of 45-65 years. Globally, women comprise 70% of the frontline workforce. Women have greater caregiving burden when they have multitasking difficulties or financial strain. Three major stressors due to COVID-19 include unintended consequences of physical distancing, financial strain, and balancing decision making for loved ones with maintaining public health safety practices. These stressors cause depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use/abuse. Given that COVID-19 death counts are higher in males and caregiving itself is gendered, there is a significant gap in knowledge regarding population-based interventions designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of both men and women carers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To inform a population-based intervention, Parry and her team will first conduct a rapid integrated mixed methods systematic review. They will begin with a 1-month broad search of published literature to determine what is known about the attributes of knowledge translation approaches, practices and platforms used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of family carers during communicable disease outbreaks. They will then will conduct two rapid parallel systematic syntheses of the unpublished and grey literature to determine the mood, thinking, and behaviours (including substance use) of family carers during COVID-19, and how the attributes of knowledge translation approaches, practices and platforms are used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of family carers during COVID-19.
Parry and team (including Peter, Mohammed and The Ontario Caregiver Organization) will use age, sex/gender and ethnicity as grouping variables and apply these to the logic model of the Caregiver Support Framework to inform the development of a population-based intervention designed to meet the needs of family carers of children, spouses/partners and older parents.
Dr. Monica Parry’s program of research includes supportive care measures to improve the health outcomes for men and women with chronic disease. Visit Dr. Parry’s profile to learn more.