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Technology and health care for the elderly medical research studies

Focus on strategic priorities that have significant social impact.

CAT 2014-CP

Feasibility of a volunteer/health care provider navigation partnership to support frail rural-dwelling older adults

Potential impacts of this project include enhanced quality of life for frail older adults and their families, reduced use of healthcare resources that arise from unnecessary transitions in care, enhanced roles for hospice volunteers, increased capacity for palliative care in rural communities and improvement of rural communities overall as they become desirable places to age in place.

Research Results

Findings: Evaluation six months into the one-year intervention period indicates the intervention is mutually beneficial for older adults and volunteers. Volunteer navigators had conducted 93 visits with older adults, demonstrating a high degree of resourcefulness and creativity. Older adult clients/family were satisfied with the intervention (rated highly important to their care). Volunteer navigators are satisfied in the navigation role indicating they would participate in the role again and recommend the role for others.

Impact of findings: Preliminary findings suggest that this unique volunteer/healthcare provider navigation partnership has the potential to enhance the quality of life of older adults living in a rural setting while providing a satisfying role for volunteers.

Download Dr. Wendy Duggleby's report: Navigation Competencies for the Care of Older Rural Adults at the End of Life

Publications, presentations and webinars

Why this research matters to:

Policy        Families        Researchers

About the Project

Assisting the frail rural elderly to age in place is essential to quality of life at end-of-life.  An innovative way to assist older adults to age in place is to provide navigation services where a knowledgeable individual advocates, facilitates community connections, coordinates access to services and resources and promotes active engagement of frail older adults with their community. The navigator ensures that older adults leverage the resources available to them and seeks to further develop those resources in the rural community.

The purpose of this project is to pilot a volunteer/healthcare provider partnership to provide chronic illness navigation for frail older adults living in the community in one rural site in British Columbia. The objectives of the project are: (1) to test the feasibility and acceptability of the volunteer/healthcare provider navigation partnership, (2) to develop and evaluate a curriculum and protocol for educating rural volunteer and healthcare provider navigators, (3) to trial the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research data collection strategies in preparation for a multi-site trial and (4) to provide a cost analysis of the volunteer/healthcare navigation partnership.

For more details on the project rationale, objectives and research plan, click here.

Project Team

Principal Investigators:

Barbara Pesut, PhD, RN -- University of British Columbia

Wendy Duggleby, PhD, RN, AOCN -- University of Alberta


Marion Brown, PhD, BA, BSW, MSW -- Dalhousie University

Konrad Fassbender, PhD -- Covenant Health

Sunita Ghosh, PhD -- University of Alberta

Lars Hallstrom, PhD, BA -- University of Alberta

Candace Konnert, PhD, RPsych -- University of Calgary

Cheryl Nekolaichuk, PhD, MEd, BScPharm -- Grey Nuns Hospital

Carole Robinson, PhD, BSc, RN, BSN, MSN -- University of British Columbia

Grace Warner, PhD -- Dalhousie University

Knowledge Users and Partners:

Pansy Angevine, RN -- Alberta Health Services

Elisabeth Antifeau, RN, MScN, GNCCC -- Interior Health

Sharon Baxter, MSW -- Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association

Kathryn Downer, PhD -- Pallium Canada

Lygia Figueiredo -- Capital District Health Authority

Lorraine Gerard -- British Columbia Hospice Palliative Care Association

Donna Hanczaryk -- Victorian Order of Nurses

Paul McIntyre, MD, FCFP -- Capital District Health Authority

Michelle Peterson Fraser, RN -- Alberta Health Services

Cheryl Tschupruk, MSW -- Cancer Care Nova Scotia

Terri Woytikw -- University of Alberta

Project Contact: Barbara Pesut --

CAT 2014-CP