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Hannah O'Rourke, RN, PhD

Assistant Professor


About Me


• Postdoctoral fellowship (CIHR), Health Interventions, School of Nursing, Ryerson University (2017)

• PhD, Nursing, University of Alberta (2015)

• BScN (honors), University of Alberta (2008)

Hannah O’Rourke currently holds a Faculty of Nursing Professorship in Dementia Care Interventions. She received prestigious awards for her graduate work, including the Fellowship Prize of Excellence in Research on Aging (CIHR),  Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CIHR), and Dorothy J Killam Memorial Graduate Prize.


Dr O’Rourke leads a program of research to design, evaluate and disseminate interventions to improve quality of life for people with dementia. She applies systematic and scoping review methodology to promote understanding of quality of life from the perspectives of people with dementia, describe the meaning of social connectedness and loneliness for populations of older adults, and assess efficacy of interventions used with people with dementia to promote their quality of life.

Social connectedness—perceptions of intimacy and belonging in relationships with others— is a priority for quality of life according to people with dementia in Canada and internationally. Applying methodology for the development of complex interventions, Dr O’Rourke identified and adapted several  interventions for use with people with dementia to address loneliness and promote social connectedness. Interventions will be tested in clinical trials to assess whether and how well the interventions work, contextualizing the findings for sub-populations of people with dementia. 

The goal of this program of research is to produce effective interventions to promote social connectedness, and which people with dementia and their family, friends and health care providers find acceptable for use in real world settings. Ultimately, this research aims to have a meaningful impact on quality of life, as it is defined and understood by people with dementia. 


Feasibility and acceptability of personal contact interventions to address loneliness for people with mild-to-moderate dementia in long-term care. Alzheimer's Society New Investigator Grant, 2018-2021 ($180, 000). PI: O'Rourke HM.

Adaptation of the 'Music for Life' intervention for use in the Alberta continuing care context. CIHR Planning & Dissemination Grants--ICS, 2018-2019 ($10, 500). PI: O'Rourke HM. Co-Is: Bartel L, Hopper T, Woodhead Lyons S.


Dr O’Rourke works collaboratively with graduate students to advance their research training in an area of interest related to care of people with dementia. Please email her to discuss current opportunities.

Dr O’Rourke teaches Nursing Research (N301) and Nursing Statistics (N341).