Pacific Regional Centre for Healthy Aging

About the Project

Although Canadians are enjoying longer lifespans, many live the last 8 to 10 years of their lives with frailty, reducing their quality of life and independence. Frailty is broadly seen as a state of increased vulnerability and functional impairment caused by cumulative declines across multiple systems. However, frailty can be delayed or even prevented with early intervention—it is not synonymous with aging.

The Pacific Regional Centre for Healthy Aging (PRCHA) aims to build an ecosystem that provides evidence-based knowledge about healthy aging, and integrates the AVOID strategy (a healthy aging model) into practice. The PRCHA ecosystem will support early identification of frailty and provide necessary resources that advocate for healthy aging by: 1) Establishing a new website that centralizes information on healthy aging for older adults, families, healthcare providers, and researchers, 2) Developing a novel education module for BC health authorities based on the AVOID strategy so all new community health care staff in BC can support healthy aging, 3) Supporting and educating primary care providers to use screening tool that enables early identification and management of frailty, 4) Extending peer coaching program to empower older adults to use self-management to follow AVOID Guidelines, and 5) Promoting social prescribing, where healthcare practitioners partner with community organizations to support older adults’ access to culturally appropriate activities in their communities.

The PRCHA will create an ecosystem that facilitates collaboration, advocates for healthy aging, and act as an accessible and trusted source for information and services to support healthy aging.

Anticipated Findings

Older adults, caregivers, healthcare providers, and researchers feel more supported by the resources and knowledge on healthy aging and have better quality of life and care relationships.

Project Team

Principal Investigator:

Grace Park, MD – Fraser Health Authority


Cheryl Beach, PhD – BC Ministry of Health
Shannon Freeman, PhD – University of Northern BC
Sandra Hundza, PhD – University of Victoria
Piper Jackson, PhD – Thompson River University
Chen-Mei (Margaret) Lin – Fraser Health Authority
Stuart MacDonald, PhD – University of Victoria
Patrick McGowan, PhD – University of Victoria
Edward Park – Simon Fraser University
Belinda Rodis, MD – Fraser Health Authority
Andrew Sixsmith, PhD – Simon Fraser University
Xiaowei Song, PhD – Fraser Health Authority


Sara Aghvami – Best Buy Health
Petra Pardy, RN – Fraser Health Authority
Bobbi Symes – United Way BC
Primary Health Care and Home Health Patient and Family Advisory Council

Keywords: health aging; frailty prevention; frailty assessment; AVOID; peer coaching; inter-sectoral collaboration; resources for healthy aging; older adult; caregiver; social prescribing

Background & Rationale


Many Canadians live the last 8 to 10 years of their lives with frailty, reducing their independence. Frailty also leads to decline in function and quality of life. However, aging does not equal frailty- it can be delayed or even prevented with early intervention.


In British Columbia (BC), 20% of the older adult population are frail. Many older adults visit hospitals when already very frail, leading to longer stay in hospital. A preventative approach with early identification and community based support can help to reduce frailty.

Hypothesis & Research Plan


A partnership of healthcare system and community organizations across British Columbia will better support older adults, caregivers, healthcare providers, and researchers to promote healthy aging and lead to less frailty and more quality of life for older adults.

Research Plan

The 5 key projects in the PRCHA network include:

  1. PRCHA website: Establishes a new website that acts as a one-stop-shop with information and resources on healthy aging for older adults, families, healthcare providers, and researchers.
  2. Frailty Education Module for healthcare staff: Develops an education module for BC healthcare providers so they can support healthy aging and include the AVOID frailty strategy in their care planning.
  3. Electronic Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment tool: Helps family doctors identify frailty in their older adult patients by using an electronic tool, through education and community supports improvements. Frailty can be monitored through this tool.
  4. Peer Coaching Program: Develops a new peer coaching module on frailty to support older adults in self-management using the AVOID framework.
  5. Social Prescribing: Promotes social prescribing, a process where healthcare providers partner with community organizations to help older adults’ access resources in their communities.

The Pacific Regional Centre for Healthy Aging (PRCHA) will be a network that helps identify frailty early, provide accessible and trusted source of information and local supports for healthy aging, facilitate collaboration, and advocate for healthy aging.