NCARE: Volunteer and healthcare provider partnerships to provide navigation for rural, frail older adults

Read more about the project here.

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, facilitates access to services and resources, and promotes active engagement of older adults. In this pilot project, volunteers trained in navigation, provided supportive care to older adults by conducting biweekly visits in the home over a one-year period. Volunteers met regularly with a healthcare navigator for purposes of debriefing and ongoing education. Findings from the project indicated that volunteer navigator partnerships can enhance the quality of life of older adults and family living with advanced chronic illness while providing a satisfying and meaningful role for volunteers.

Barbara Pesut, PhD, RN is an Associate Professor of Nursing and holds a Canada Research Chair in Health, Ethics and Diversity at the University of British Columbia. She earned her undergraduate degree in nursing at the University of Victoria, and her Masters and PhD in Nursing at the University of British Columbia. Her 35-year career in nursing has included roles in clinical practice, education, and educational leadership. Her research focuses on palliative care with a special focus on rural populations.

Wendy Duggleby, PhD, RN, AOCN is a Professor and Endowed Nursing Research Chair in Aging and Quality of Life and Director of the Innovations in Seniors Care Research Unit in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan, her Master of Nursing at the University of Alberta, and her PhD in Nursing at the University of Texas-Houston Health Sciences Center. Her areas of research interest include gero-oncology, psychosocial oncology, family caregivers, palliative and end of life care. The goal of her research is to enhance quality of life for older adults and their families, and her program of research is entitled “Living with Hope.”