CRADLE: the Canadian Remote Access for Dementia Learning Experiences

Families, care partners, and people living with dementia are in urgent need of skilled unregulated care workers (UCWs). Especially in rural and remote areas, the shortage of UCWs means long wait times and undue burdens and stress on families and patients. Many employers in the in-home care, nursing, and retirement homes sectors struggle to keep up with increasing demand for services and nationwide there are hundreds of thousands of unfilled UCW positions.

Two seniors sitting in armchairs in a hospital setting

In addition, UCWs frequently experience unwarranted stress in the workplace because of injuries, physical strain, lack of training, unstable work hours, and discrimination — all of which affect their self confidence and job satisfaction.

Future Skills Centre is investing almost $1.2 million in the Canadian Remote Access for Dementia Learning Experiences (CRADLE) program. Spearheaded by Conestoga College, it will be the first, fully-online, multilingual education opportunity specifically designed for UCWs.  Up to 50,000 historically isolated participants will have access to interactive learning modules, be able to participate in a community of practice, and engage in discussion forums. 

CRADLE’s content will reflect real-world complexities of caring for people living with dementia as it is designed by UCWs and employers, advocacy groups, educators, and policymakers. The project will test the effectiveness of this inexpensive delivery model, and assess impact on care and outcomes that matter for employers and caregivers such as retention and working conditions.

CRADLE is unique in that it will be developed by and designed for three target populations as the primary beneficiaries: newcomers to Canada working as UCWs, UCWs working in rural and remote areas, and nursing home and home care employers across Canada.

CRADLE’s free online education courses are now open and are designed to empower UCWs to provide evidence-informed and person-centred dementia care.

Learn more and visit the course registration page to sign up. Learners who complete the course will be provided a certificate.

If you are an employer interested in registering staff for CRADLE, organizing a group-facilitated session, or applying for a 1-year loan of a mobile internet stick to support high speed internet connection, please contact

Evaluation Strategy

This project will be evaluated using tools and approaches aligned with its goals, context, and stage of development. The evaluation will focus on generating the right evidence at the right moment to move the intervention forward. Read more about our evaluation strategy.

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