Karen Khalil El Hajj

PhD candidate, Aging, Health and Well-being
Karen Khalil El Hajj


PhD Aging, Health and Well-being

Graduate supervisor  

Paul Stolee

My thesis

My doctoral thesis examines the potential implications of a new staffing policy taking effect in March 2025 across Ontario’s long-term care (LTC) homes. The policy requires LTC homes to deliver an average of four hours of direct care per resident daily, and an average of 36 minutes of care from allied health care professionals. Addressing staffing challenges in LTC has been consistently cited as an important factor to improve quality of care.

Employing a multi-method approach, my thesis aims to understand the potential impact of this new policy on multiple fronts. Specifically, I aim to examine its impact on the provincial government's budget, as well as on the healthcare professionals and administrators working in LTC. Furthermore, I intend to examine its potential effects on health sectors that employ cross-sectoral healthcare workers, such as those working in homecare. For example, the majority of direct care is provided by Personal Support Workers, a racialized workforce. Personal Support Workers face lower wage rates, a demanding work environment, and are employed in multiple health sectors.

My thesis results hold the potential to contribute to enhancing LTC human health resource planning by informing policy makers on the workforce’s perspective on the new policy, in addition to highlighting the possibility of additional policies that can decrease the impact on other health care sectors.

My time in the School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS)

I have had a great experience during my time at the School of Public Health Sciences. During the past few years, I have been fortunate to collaborate and work with professors and colleagues in interdisciplinary teams to improve the lives of older adults in Canada. I was also fortunate to be able to grow my leadership skills by co-chairing two student initiatives, the Symposium on Aging Research (SoAR) and the Waterloo Aging Network for Trainees (WANT). Both initiatives aim to connect students researching aging on campus.

Additionally, my supervisor Dr. Stolee, our Geriatric Health Systems team and the school’s faculty have been a great source of knowledge and support to grow and develop my research and knowledge on gerontology.

Connect with Karen through her Twitter and her LinkedIn.

Karen has also received the S. Leonard Syme Research Training Award from the Institute for Work and Health (2023).