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Technology and health care for the elderly medical research studies

Focus on strategic priorities that have significant social impact.

CAT 2015-39

Mixed Methods feasibility study of group peer support interventions to engage the public in ACP

In this study, we will look at new ways to support members of the public to think and talk about what matters in relation to getting older and adjusting to changes in health.

Possible Research Results

Anticipated findingsDeliverables include data about the feasibility and acceptability of the interventions from the perspectives of the participants, peer facilitators and organisations, and an intervention toolkit. Our findings will help improve future community-based ACP education and activities.

Impact of findingsScalable interventions in the community setting promise to be more manageable than current individual ACP activities, which rely on engaged healthcare professionals. Deliverables will include updated peer-facilitator materials for group based ACP Interventions, trained volunteers (peer-facilitators), intervention sessions for the public, metrics on number of participants and their demographics, participant reported outcome data, peer-facilitator reported outcome data and key stakeholder reported outcome data for involved organizations. Findings from this study can inform larger scale implementation of ACP outside of hospital settings, with a goal of keeping patients at the center of healthcare decision-making, minimizing the use of healthcare resources that people do not value, and improving awareness of and access to high quality palliative care at the end-of-life.

About the Project

Advance Care Planning (ACP) encourages us all to be more actively involved in decision making about healthcare. Although ACP is something we can do on our own, we often require support from others. Most studies in ACP have focused on experts within the healthcare system.

We will train members of the public who volunteer at community organisations to support group ACP activity sessions. The sessions aim to inform, promote conversation, and break down barriers and stigmas around these conversations. We will invite older adults and their caregivers and families to attend the sessions.

As the sessions are run by trained volunteers rather than experts, we will look at the volunteers’ experiences. We will ask them how they felt running the sessions, what worked and what needs to be improved. We will also study how best to encourage older adults to come to the sessions. Lastly, we will look at whether the activities help older adults be more involved in ACP activities and conversations. We will look at whether the sessions increase their comfort with the conversation, help them identify what matters to them and help them talk about it with their family and healthcare providers.

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

Project Team

Principal Investigators:

Doris Barwich, MD, CCFP -- University of British Columbia

Arminee Kazanjian, DrSoc -- University of British Columbia

Jennifer Kryworuchko, RN, PhD, BScN, CNCC(C) -- University of British Columbia


Eman Hassan, MD, MPH, PhDc -- B.C. Centre for Palliative Care

Pippa Hawley, BMed, FRCPC -- University of British Columbia

Katherine Kortes-Miller, HBMT, MSW, PhD -- Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH)

Richard Sawatzky, RN, MSc, PhD -- Trinity Western University

Jessica Simon, MRCP(UK), FRCPC -- University of Calgary

Shimae Soheilipour, DDS, PhD -- University of British Columbia

Kelli Stajduhar, RN, PhD -- University of Victoria 

Knowledge Users and Partners:

Louise Hanvey, RN, BN, MHA -- Advance Care Planning in Canada

Janet Zaharia -- Health Services Policy Division, B.C. Ministry of Health

Project Contact: Rachel Carter --

CAT 2015-39