Dr. Marie Savundranayagam is an associate professor in Health Studies at Western University. She is also the director of the Sam Katz Community Health and Aging Research Unit. Dr. Savundranayagam conducts research that has an impact on how we care for older adults living with dementia and their care partners, both family and formal care partners. She is committed to conducting research that has an impact on health care practice and policy.
Within family care, her research is on enhancing our understanding of the contributors of stress and depression among family care partners. Her research uses that knowledge to develop, implement, and assess interventions that enrich their care experiences. Dr. Savundranayagam received the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s ‘Age Plus’ Award for her work on communication problems and distress among family care partners of persons living with dementia. Her research on family care has been funded by the Hartford Foundation, and the international grants program at the Alzheimer’s Association, and she is part of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.
Within formal care, Dr. Savundranayagam’s research aims to understand the factors that lead to communication breakdown between care partners and persons living with dementia. Her research uses that knowledge to equip care partners with the necessary skills to deliver person-centered care. Most recently, Dr. Savundranayagam and her research team created and implemented Be EPIC, which is a person-centered communication training for frontline health care workers who work with persons living with dementia. Her research on formal care, including Be EPIC, is funded by the Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation, the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, and Future Skills Centre.
- Be EPIC is a training program for frontline health care workers to improve their communication and relationships with clients and residents living with dementia.
- Be EPIC is based on over 20 years of research on communication and dementia.
- We teach trainees to assess the [E]nvironment, use [P]erson-centered communication, focus on client relationships ([I] matter too), and include the [C]lient’s abilities, life history and preferences during routine care.
- Video on Be EPIC
- Savundranayagam, M.Y., Basque, S. R., & Johnson, K. (2020). Feasibility of Be EPIC: A dementia-focused person-centered communication intervention for home care workers. Clinical Gerontologist, 43(2): 181-192. DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2019.1694116