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Policies supporting informal caregivers across Canada: a scoping review protocol

27 Jun 2018

Introduction

As the population ages, governments worldwide have begun seeking ways to support informal caregiving. In this light, Canada is no exception, but despite the centrality of the informal care strategy in elder care, we know little about the intertwining and overlapping policies that have been implemented to support informal caregivers providing assistance to the elderly, and to fellow citizens with disabilities. This review aims to identify the diversity of Canadian national, provincial and territorial policies supporting informal caregivers. It seeks, from its generalist focus on all informal care, to draw out specific observations and lessons for the elder care policy environment.

Methods and analysis

Given the vast and multidisciplinary nature of the literature on informal care policy, as well as the paucity of existing knowledge syntheses, we will adopt a scoping review methodology. We will follow the framework developed by Arksey and O’Malley that entails six stages, including: (1) identifying the research question(s); (2) searching for relevant studies; (3) selecting studies; (4) charting the data; (5) collating, summarising and reporting the results; (6) and conducting consultation exercises. We will conduct these stages iteratively and reflexively, making adjustments and repetitions when appropriate to ensure we have covered the literature as comprehensively as possible. We will pursue an iterative integrated knowledge translation (iKT) strategy engaging our knowledge users through all stages of the review.

Ethics and dissemination

By adopting an iKT strategy we will ensure our knowledge users directly contribute to the project’s policy relevant publications. Upon completion of the review, we will present the findings at academic conferences, publishing a research report, along with an academic peer-reviewed article. Our intent is to develop an online, free-access evidence repository that catalogues the full range of Canada’s English language informal care support policies. Finally, the completed review will allow us to publish a series of policy briefs in collaboration with knowledge users illustrating how to promote and better implement informal care support policies. Our study has received ethics approval from the University of Calgary Conjoint Ethics Board.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open