Ongoing research projects

Two women in a car

Dr. Holly Tuokko, left, and Candrive study participant Cathy McKernan with an in-car device used to track the driving habits of seniors. Photo: Diana Nethercott.

Woman gesturing to a CLSA sign

Dr. Vincenza Gruppuso at the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) data collection site at Gorge Rd Hospital.

Research participant on an exercise machine

Many of Dr. Paul Zehr's experiments are aimed at evaluating the extent to which the nervous system creates elementary units of coordination within and between limbs.

Arm and Leg Coordination During Walking

Many of Dr. Paul Zehr's experiments are aimed at evaluating the extent to which the nervous system creates elementary units of coordination within and between limbs. Recent projects examined the extent to which sensory information is transferred via reflex pathways from the foot to the arms during walking. This is important not just for improving our understanding of arm and leg coordination, but also has application to research in older subjects in which balance control and coordination during walking are impaired, often as an outcome of sensory loss.

Funding for these projects is provided by NSERC and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Visit Dr. Zehr's website

Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)

Research program

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a 20-year prospective study recruiting a sample of 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 years at baseline. The aim of this study is to find ways to improve the health of Canadians by better understanding the processes and dimensions of aging.

What questions is CLSA asking? 

All participants provide a common set of information on demographic, social, physical, clinical, psychological, economic, and health service utilization aspects relevant to health and aging. 30,000 participants provide additional information through physical examinations and the collection of biospecimens (blood and urine samples). The remaining 20,000 provide information through telephone interviews.

Read more

Dementia Family Caregivers Who Are Employed in the Canadian Workforce

The Dementia Family Caregivers Who Are Employed in the Canadian Workforce is a quality of life stream of research funded by the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). It is one of a series of studies looking at employment, aging, and caregiving. This study is designed to examine the applicability of the Reitman Centre CARERS program in a rural setting.

Visit the CCNA project website

Development of Comparison Standards for the Cognition Measures Employed in the CLSA

The Development of Comparison Standards for the Cognition Measures employed in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a study led by Dr. Holly Tuokko. This project will provide detailed information about the performance of people aged 45-85 years on baseline cognitive functioning measures among participants of the CLSA. The CLSA includes approximately 50,000 participants from across the country and is anticipated to continue for nearly two decades.

Understanding the factors that affect cognitive functions, such as health characteristics, is important in providing meaningful health supports for our aging population. It is the goal of this study to develop Canadian comparison standards that will be beneficial for use in clinical practice and to health researchers. Cognitive measures within the domains of  memory, executive functioning and psychomotor speed will be examined along with health characteristic variables obtained through the CLSA.

For more information about the study, please email .

Funding for this research is provided Alzheimer Society of Canada/Alzheimer Société de Canada and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation.

“This research was made possible using the data collected by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). Funding for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) was provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) under grant reference: LSA 9447 and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.” CLSA website

The Diabetes Coach Study

This two-year project, funded by the Lawson Foundation, is a partnership between the University of Victoria and the 11 Diabetes Health Centres in the Fraser Health Region of BC. UVic researchers will recruit and train 100 coaches and pair them with 150 participants with type 2 diabetes for six months. Participants and coaches complete outcome measurements at baseline, and again at six and twelve months. A variety of qualitative methods are used to gain a comprehensive understanding of the coaching process. A 40-member community advisory committee comprised of the researchers, diabetes administrators and educators, coaches, participants and key community representatives from the diabetes industry meet every three months to review progress and provide input.

Dr. Patrick McGowan is the principal investigator.

eHOME-iCARE (electronic Home intelligent Care)

eHOME-iCARE (electronic Home intelligent Care)

The goals of eHOME-iCARE are to: 1) develop an integrated suite of technologies to monitor and predict dynamic changes in the health and well-being of older adults living at home, and 2) use this information to intervene by informing caregivers or providing respite care through direct technologically-driven interventions. Through our work with strategic partners, we are developing an integrated suite of technologies to continuously monitor the home environment and assess the status of its resident. Our path to predictive algorithms mixes passive monitoring with intermittent psychological and physiological assessments. 

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-721-8595.

Read more at eHOME-iCARE website

Equitable Access to Care for People with Life Limiting Conditions

The Equitable Access to Care for People with Life Limiting Conditions study, led by Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, has received funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. The research team includes co-investigators from UVic, Trinity Western University, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDs, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Victoria Hospice and AIDS Vancouver Island.

The study will investigate access to end of life care for members of Victoria's homeless and unstably housed community. The team aims to inform interventions, equitable health services and policies to improve care for people at the end of life.

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-472-5501.

Visit the EAC website

Family Caregiving for People at End-of-Life

The Supporting Family Caregivers of Palliative Patients at Home: The Carer Support Needs Assessment (CSNAT) Intervention study, led by Drs. Kelli Stajduhar (Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health and School of Nursing, University of Victoria) and Rick Sawatzky (School of Nursing, Trinity Western University), has received joint funding for three years from the Canadian Fraily Network (CFN) and the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI).

The research team includes Canadian co-investigators from the University of Manitoba, McGill, and Island Health and international co-investigators from Curtin University in Australia, as well as the University of Cambridge and the University of Manchester in the UK.

We will investigate the feasibility of a brief questionnaire to determine the impact of home care nursing services on family caregivers' (FCG) quality of life. The questionnaire will be integrated into routine home care nurse practice to monitor FCG needs. We will also ask about support FCGs have received, as well as their satisfaction with healthcare provided, and will conduct interviews to better understand how the questionnaire works in practice. Findings will be used to develop a caregiver assessment package for routine use in home care.

For more information about the study, please email .

Visit the Supporting Family Caregivers website

Initiative for a Palliative Approach in Nursing: Evidence and Leadership (iPANEL)

The iPANEL research program is guided by the question: How and in which contexts can a palliative approach better meet the needs of people with chronic life-limiting conditions and their family members and guide the development of innovations in health care delivery systems to better support nursing practice and the health system in British Columbia?

To address this broad-based question we are engaged in and planning a number of research projects that fall under four intersecting research strands. Each of the research strands are co-led by a nurse researcher and clinical or administrative nursing leader who are members of the iPANEL team.

Visit the iPANEL website

Integrated Palliative Approach to Care in Acute Care (iPAC-AC)

The overall goal of iPAC-AC is to improve the quality of care in acute care for people with life-limiting conditions. Using participatory approaches, the project combines inquiry and action to support the integration of a palliative approach. Core components of a palliative approach involve adopting the foundational principles of palliative care, adapting palliative care knowledge to the illness trajectories of people with life-limiting conditions, and embedding adapted knowledge “upstream” into the delivery of care.

The project is being conducted at 1 acute care medical unit in Fraser Health and being facilitated on the unit by 2 clinical nurse specialists who play a central role in knowledge translation in Fraser Health, have contact with multidisciplinary team members, patients and families, and who are responsible for facilitating practice change in acute care. The project outputs include development of evidence-informed recommendations, creation of practice support tools and development of an evaluation framework.

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-472-4464.

Integrated Palliative Approach to Care in Residential Care (iPAC-RC)

The iPAC-RC is one arm of a CIHR Team Grant: Late Life Issues, Seniors Adding Life to Years (SALTY). The research will look at evaluating innovative practices used in LTC at end of life. Building on previous research and collaboration, care competencies, practices and relationships will be evaluated in a larger quality improvement project being implemented in Island Health. We anticipate outcomes to include developing evidence-informed recommendations for integrating and scaling up a palliative approach into LTC facilities, creating practice support tools to facilitate transitions into the care journey, and developing an evaluation framework including outcome measures and benchmarks.

Please visit the SALTY website for more information on the overall project.

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-472-4464.

Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies in Aging (IALSA)

The study of aging and health-related change demands an integrative life span/life course developmental framework, involving interdisciplinary collaborations and advanced methodological approaches for understanding how and why individuals change with age, in both normative and idiosyncratic ways.

Results from longitudinal studies also provide a basis for the early detection of change related to neurodegenerative disorders and the identification of periods in the lifespan when interventions will potentially have their greatest impact.

Visit the IALSA website

Promoting Sport Participation During Early Parenthood

This study is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and is exploring the impact that team sports and individual sports have on psychosocial variables among parents with children under the age of 13.

For more information about the study, please email Dr. Ryan Rhodes (principal investigator) or Alison Quinlan (project coordinator).

Visit the Behavioral Medicine Lab website

Self-Management Program

Persons with chronic health conditions and family members can participate in self-management programs offered online and in person in communities throughout British Columbia at no cost. These are evidence-based programs which provide information, teach practical skills and give people the confidence to manage their health condition(s).

Visit the Self Management BC website

Victoria Longitudinal Study (VLS)

Led by Dr. Roger Dixon, this is a long-term, large-scale, and multi-faceted investigation of human aging, with a testing site in Victoria and lab headquarters in Edmonton. The VLS examines changes, variations, and interactions among numerous aspects of aging including memory, executive functions, speed, cognitive resources, sensory acuity, and influences on aging including biological, health, genetic, lifestyle, fitness, and demographic changes.

Visit the Victoria Longitudinal Study website

Voices in Motion

Led by Drs Debra Sheets, Stuart MacDonald, Andre Smith, and Mary Kennedy (UVic), Dr Helen Kivnich (University of Minnesota), Dr Carl Asche (University of Illinois), and Erica Phare-Berg (St Andrews High School), Voices in Motion is an intergenerational community choir for persons with Alzheimer's Disease, and their family caregivers, that will explore the impact of participation in an intergenerational choir on quality of life, well-being and social networks. Voices in Motion is actively recruiting members.

The study includes a caregiver survey that asks questions about wellbeing, stress, social connections, overall health and satisfaction, and depression. Both the caregiver and care recipient must commit to attending choir practice for 1.5 hours every week for the 14 week season at a local high school. Each week will begin with 15 minutes of socialization, 50 minutes of choir, and then another 15 minutes of socialization. Both the caregiver and care recipient will participate in separate 45 minute focus groups at the start of the choir season and at the end of the season. Care recipients will be asked to complete five neuropsychological assessments during Spring 2017 and a minimum of six neuropsychological assessments between September 2018 and June 2019. Each assessment requires a maximum of two hours to complete depending on the participant.

For more information, please visit the study website.