Project collaborations

Seniors - Adding Life to Years (SALTY)

Everyone wants to live well in their final years but this may be a challenge, particularly for people in nursing home settings. Seniors - Adding Life To Years (SALTY) is a project developed by researchers, care providers, care administrators, policy makers, older adults and their families from across Canada. SALTY is a four-year research project that aims to add quality to late life for people living in nursing homes and for their caregivers, including family, friends, and volunteers who support their care.

Principal investigators: Janice Keefe (Mount Saint Vincent University), Carole Estabrooks (University of Alberta), Heather Cook (Interior Health Authority), Leah MacDonald (Island Health)

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), with partnership funding from Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF), the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), and the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Integrating quality of life assessment and practice support system in palliative homecare

Most people who have advancing and life-limiting illness want to spend as much time at home as possible, rather than in the hospital. In order to improve health outcomes and to ensure a high quality of life (QOL), health care professionals need to have a reliable method to assess and monitor functioning and health care needs of both patients and family caregivers. This study seeks ways to best integrate electronic QOL and healthcare experience assessment tools into palliative homecare nursing, and to measure whether these tools improve quality of care.

Principal investigators: Richard Sawatzky (TWU), Robin Cohen (McGill)

Funder: Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network (TVN)

Integrating quality of life assessments into acute care for older adults with chronic life-limiting illness

Chronic life-limiting illness often affects older adults’ ability to function in their daily lives, which can negatively impact quality of life. In this study, researchers will work with clinicians in an acute (hospital) palliative care setting to assess the health concerns and quality of life of older adults and their family caregivers, with the goal to more effectively monitor and address these concerns. An innovative tablet-based tool will be implemented and evaluated for its usefulness in facilitating this process and improving quality of life.

Principal investigators: Richard Sawatzky (TWU)

Funder: Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network (TVN)

Access to culturally appropriate and culturally safe health care services are often unmet needs in the Canadian health care system. Through this project a series of videos have been developed that share the lived experience of people from 10 different ethno-cultural groups of how culture is lived in practice at end of life. Interviews with people living with advanced illness, their families, and health care and community leaders, in both their first language and English, provide rich insights for immigrants and refugees accessing the health system. The series is also an educative tool for health providers wishing to enhance their capacity to provide culturally safe and inclusive care.

Principal investigators: Shelly Cory (Canadian Virtual Hospice) and Harvey Chochinov (University of Manitoba)

Funder: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

Exploring high mortality cancer patients and family caregivers transitions from diagnosis to end of life: Implications for quality of life

Patients who are diagnosed with high mortality cancer and their caregivers will go through multiple difficult transitions throughout the course of the illness, such as transitions in location of care, care providers and goals of care. This is a qualitative research project that seeks to better understand the experiences of patients and caregivers living through these transitions, with the goal of improving the support that health care providers and institutions provide during this challenging time.

Principal investigators: Carol McDonald (UVic), Carolyn Wilkinson (Island Health)

Funder: Island Health

Healthcare providers' perspectives of compassionate care at the end of life

Compassion is an essential feature of quality health care, particularly when addressing patient suffering at the end of life. Despite this, defining and evaluating compassionate care is often overlooked. This study will examine how exemplary frontline health care providers understand and deliver compassionate end of life care, focusing on motivators, attitudes, knowledge, skills and actions. We will use this information to develop a clinical care model and core competencies for delivering compassionate care.

Principal investigators: Shane Sinclair (University of Calgary)

Funder: MSI Foundation

Caring for the caregiver: Implementation of an evidence-based novel service for family caregivers of cancer patients at the end of life

Family caregivers (FCGs) of people at the end of life often struggle with physical, emotional, social, and financial burden that can impact their health and quality of life, during both caregiving and bereavement. Due to limited resources in health care practice, these needs can go unmet. This three-year project will develop a training program to help volunteers address these needs, with the goal of reducing the burden on FCGs and helping them to cope. Feedback will be sought throughout the project from FCGs and volunteers to continually improve the program.

Principal investigators: Robin Cohen (McGill)

Funder: Max Bell Foundation

Development and validation of a patient-reported measure of compassionate care

Principal investigator: Shane Sinclair (University of Calgary)

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Development and evaluation of a family-partnered care pathway for critically ill older patients

Principal investigators: Henry Stelfox (University of Calgary), Daren Heyland (Queen's University)

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Healthcare providers’ understandings and experiences of compassion: Improving the delivery of healthcare services to Albertans from the inside-out

Principal investigators: Shane Sinclair (University of Calgary)

Funder: MSI Foundation