Band-Frail Project: Improving Quality of Life for Canadians Living with Frailty & Diabetes

December 2, 2020

In late 2018, CFN funded a meeting of key stakeholders to plan and apply for funding for the Band-Frail pilot project. This project is a program led by Dr. Martin Sénéchal from the Cardiometabolic Exercise and Lifestyle Laboratory at the University of New Brunswick which features exercise and education components for older individuals with both frailty and Type 2 diabetes. This program is based on the Mid-Frail study which was conducted in Europe with 2000 people from a similar population and found significant improvements in functional abilities, HbA1c, as well as being cost effective.

New Brunswick has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country as well as a very high average age. With this information in mind, the aim of the study is to implement a program similar to that used during the Mid-Frail study across New Brunswick. It will begin with a pilot program at the University of New Brunswick as researchers work with the limitations caused by the pandemic. Participants will be recruited in partnership with a local diabetes clinic with the parameters that they are 65 years or older, pre-frail or are living with frailty, and have Type 2 diabetes. A Certified Diabetes Educator will lead two sessions a week with these participants. One session will consist of 20 minutes of diabetes management education and 25 minutes of resistance training using resistance bands. The second session per week will consist only of the resistance training aspect of the program. Participants will undergo pre and post testing including questionnaires, physical function tests, blood draws used to determine HbA1c levels, and interviews. These tests will be used to assess the viability of the program in the province and determine the physical and psychological benefits. The evaluation will also contain a sex and gender lens to potentially catch any differences among them through the program. In addition, these data will be merged with administrative data to investigate long-term outcomes. As things open up in NB, researchers will look to expand the program across the province reaching more than 900 participants for the study. This will allow the research team to make clear determinations on the benefits of the program for the participants and the province as a whole. With positive results they will then look to work with other provinces and organizations to assist in the inclusion of this program nationally allowing all Canadians who could benefit from the program to do so.