Ongoing research projects

Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large, national, long-term study that will follow approximately 50,000 men and women who are between the ages of 45 and 85 when recruited, for at least 20 years. The CLSA will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives. These factors will be studied to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in the development of disease and disability as people age.

 What are the goals of this study? 

The results from CLSA will:

  • Contribute to the identification of ways to prevent disease and improve health services;
  • Develop better understanding of the impact of non-medical factors, such as economic prosperity and social changes, on people as they age;
  • Answer questions that are relevant to decision-makers to improve health policy and inform government programs and services;
  • Generate new knowledge on many interrelated biological, clinical, psychosocial and societal factors that influence disease, health and well-being; and
  • Develop Canadian research capacity and train future generations of researchers who will use the CLSA data and infrastructure to explore previously unimagined areas of research on aging.

Local principal Investigators: Dr. Scott Hofer

For more information about the study, please email Jo-Ann Millar or visit CLSA website.

eHOME-iCARE (electronic Home intelligent Care)

Caregiving is a complex behavior for which humans are uniquely suited and technological equivalents remain in their infancy. eHOME-iCARE team believe that technology can supplement and, someday, stand-in for human caregivers.

What are the goals of this study? 

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;

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. 

Local principal Investigators: Dr. Cheryl Beach, Dr. Andrew Mitz, Dr. Stuart MacDonald, Dr. Debra Sheets, Dr. Sandra Hundza, Dr. Carl Asche

For more information about the study, please email Brent Gali.

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

The iPANEL is a group of nurse researchers, practitioners, and administrators who share a common goal of advancing the further integration of a palliative approach into the healthcare system. As a team we began to officially work together in January 2011 after receiving funding from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Members of our team share a commitment to enhancing the care of those with chronic life-limiting conditions, a passion for providing quality end-of-life care, and an absolute belief in nurses’ capacity to effect change in positive ways. Our program of research is strongly practice-oriented, meant to inform, and be informed by clinical practice. We hope that you will engage with us, offer your perspectives, and practice wisdom so that we, together, can generate understandings and evidence to inform practice and policy and decision making to make improvements to the care of people at the end-of-life and their family members.

What is a Palliative Approach?

An approach to care focused on improving the quality of life of persons and their families (in iPANEL we are focused mainly on persons with life-limiting chronic conditions). It is provided in all health care settings. It involves physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care. The palliative approach is not delayed until the end stages of an illness but is applied earlier to provide active comfort-focused care and a positive approach to reducing suffering. It also promotes understanding of loss and bereavement. You can find list of ongoing research projects here.

For more information about the study, please email info@ipanel.ca or visit the iPANEL 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.

What are the goals of this study?

The aim of this research program is to shine a light on barriers to care for vulnerable and marginalized people, identify models of care to promote equitable palliative care, and capacitate health systems, healthcare providers, and inner-city providers to integrate a palliative approach to care for their clients living with chronic life-limiting conditions, including cancer, lung disease, and organ failure. This means adapting principles of palliative care (i.e., alleviation of symptoms, advance care planning, psychosocial support, quality of life) to reflect the expertise and resources of inner-city providers, and embed these principles into care provision where people live in the community.

Local Principal Investigator: Dr. Kelli Stajduhar

For more information about the study, please email or visit EAC website

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

Using participatory approaches, the iPAC-AC 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.

What are the goals of this study?

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.

Local Principal Investigator: Dr. Kelli Stajduhar and Dr. Neil Hilliard

For more information about the study, please email  or visitiPAC-AC website.

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.

What are the goals of this study?

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.


Local Principal Investigator: Dr. Kelli Stajduhar and Dr. Leah MacDonald

For more information about the study, please email  or visit iPAC-RC website.

Integrating a Quality of Life Assessment and Practice Support System (QPSS) in homecare services for older adults with life-limiting illness and their families

Older adults who have advancing life-limiting illnesses and who are receiving health care at home often have complex problems that affect their overall quality of life (QOL). Progress has been made in managing symptoms, but health care professionals (HCPs) may overlook other issues that impact the QOL of patients and their family caregivers. Routinely assessing patient and family QOL can provide HCPs with more information about concerns and experiences with health care delivery, thereby better allowing HCPs to address patient and family needs

What are the goals of this study?

This project aims to improve home care service delivery and QOL of older adults who have life-limiting illnesses and their family caregivers. Specifically, our team will study the integration of an innovative computer tablet-based Quality of Life Assessment and Practice Support System (QPSS) in home health care, and evaluate its usefulness as a comprehensive system to assess and monitor the QOL of patients and family caregivers so that health care needs can be addressed appropriately. Patients, family caregivers, and clinicians will all routinely use the QPSS during home visits to assess symptoms; physical, psychological, social and existential/spiritual well-being; and experiences with the care provided. Administrators and decision-makers can use the information to improve care throughout the health care system.

Local Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Kelli Stajduhar 

For more information about the study, please email  or visit iPAC-RC website.

Supporting Family Caregivers of Seriously Ill Patients at Home

The Supporting Family Caregivers of Palliative Patients at Home: The Carer Support Needs Assessment (CSNAT) Intervention study investigates 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. 

What are the goals of this study?

To assess caregivers’ quality of life as it is impacted by the support they receive from their communities and the healthcare system while they care for their seriously ill friend or family member.

Local Principal Investigator: Dr. Kelli Stajduhar and Dr. Richard Sawatzky

For more information about the study, please email or visit the Supporting Family Caregivers website

Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies in Aging (IALSA)

The Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Aging (IALSA) network is an international collaboration for reproducible longitudinal research on life course studies.

The study of aging and health-related change demands an integrative developmental framework, involving interdisciplinary collaborations and advanced methodological approaches to understand how and why individuals change with age, in both normative and idiosyncratic ways. Longitudinal studies also provide a basis for the early detection of change related to neurodegenerative disorder and the idetification of periods in the lifespan when interventions will potentially have their greatest impact.

IALSA and Reproducible Research

A major feature of the IALSA network is the evaluation of the reproducibility of results from longitudinal and life course studies. Replication of longitudinal research is challenging as there are many ways that results can differ. Evidence for lack of replicability can include differences in individuals in the sample, such as age range, birth cohort, culture, health and education. Lack of replicability can also come from differences across measurements and study design, and choice of statistical analysis, including the selection of covariates, treatment of rates of response, attrition, and mortality selection within and across studies.

IALSA projects each include multiple studies for the evaluation of the reproducibility of results and publically available analysis scripts that can be used to reproduce the results and enable new projects that build on past research.

Local Principal Investigator: Dr. Scott Hofer and Dr. Andrea Piccinin 

Visit the IALSA website for more information.

Victoria Assistive Devise and Coaching study (VADAC)

The VADAC trial will enroll older adults (65+) with chronic diseases. The three-month trial will measure the change in self-management behaviors as well as hospital re-admission. Participants will be asked about their experiences as patients with chronic disease, their mood, and their confidence in managing symptoms and their healthcare roles at home. They will complete weekly email health surveys regarding their medication, health system use (i.e., visit to doctor), and use of novel patient-reported outcome (PRO) measurement technologies.

What are the goals of this study?

The VADAC study will help us work out whether technology is helpful for older adults who experience life with a chronic disease by making their self-management easier; or, if a technology is not more helpful and they are still returning to the hospital for reasons that could have been avoided with good self-management habits. The study investigators think that it is likely that there will be a difference, and that new tools like home monitoring systems will be helpful. We have designed the study with patients in mind to test if we are right, while also introducing participants to new self-management tools and techniques we believe can improve their lives.

Local Principal Investigator: Dr. Scott Hofer, Dr. Patrick McGowan, and Dr. Ryan Rhodes 

For more information about the study, please email aging@uvic.ca