Focusing on Quality of Life in Health Care for Older Adults, with Richard Sawatzky

Date(s) - February 13, 2020
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Trinity Western University (Northwest Auditorium)

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Trinity Western University is inviting the public to an exciting, interactive community event that will showcase award-winning research being done to improve the health care and quality of life for patients and their family caregivers, as well as celebrate the recent academic milestones of the professor behind it all, Dr. Richard (Rick) Sawatzky.

In health care, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and quality-of-life (QOL) are increasingly assessed using questionnaire tools designed to obtain feedback from patients for the purpose of improving their quality of care. TWU’s School of Nursing Professor Rick Sawatzky, PhD, RN, is conducting important research and developing digital systems (called computerized adaptive tests, or CATs) to make these tools far more efficient, customized, and relevant to patients and their families. “Although the idea behind obtaining this feedback has been around for a long time,” says Dr. Sawatzky, “the uptake of these tools has been limited—the reason being that the tools have not been integrated effectively into everyday health care.”

Sawatzky is passionate and determined to advance these tools especially for patients and their family caregivers who are currently benefiting the least: our older adult population and patients living with chronic illness. “How do we support patients, family caregivers, and health-care providers in using these tools as a routine part of care to support shared decision making and person-centred care? That is the central question driving the research,” says Dr. Sawatzky, who holds the prestigious Canada Research Chair in Person-Centred Outcomes, a government-funded grant and appointment that is giving him the resources needed to prioritize this groundbreaking research.

Sawatzky points out an important distinction between patient-reported outcomes (PROs)—the more familiar term—and person-centred outcomes as defined by his Canada Research Chair title. “Not all PROs are necessarily person centred,” he says. “They do not, by definition, focus on what matters to each individual patient and family caregiver. On the other hand, the term ‘person-centred outcomes’ is an all-encompassing term that draws attention to the outcomes and experiences from the point of view of individual patients and their family caregivers.” It involves designing online tools tailored to each specific person, so that people answer the questions that matter most, providing feedback about the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of their lives in tandem with their symptoms and health-care experiences.

In addition to the Canada Research Chair title, Dr. Sawatzky also won a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to develop the technical infrastructure needed by Sawatzky and his research team. The resulting Person-Centred e-Health Information System being created in conjunction with health-care technology partner Cambian is set to position Canada as an international leader in person-centred outcomes measurement.

To celebrate these achievements as well as Dr. Sawatzky’s recent promotion to full professorship at Trinity Western University, the institution will host a special Public Seminar and Reception event where anyone—students, faculty, health-care providers, and the general public—can learn more about this innovative research and how quality of health care and quality of life will be improved in the near future. “All of us at one time or another will require ongoing care for a chronic condition or long-term illness. Imagine if that care could be tailored to best support the unique needs of each individual. This is the potential impact of Dr. Sawatzky’s research and the e-Health Information system. This research affects how we experience everyday life—both by ourselves and with our loved ones,” says Dr. Eve Stringham, Vice Provost of Research and Graduate Studies.

Designed to be insightful and engaging, the event will feature meaningful presentations by Dr. Sawatzky and key members of his research team, as well as fun activities and delicious food. Attendees will even have the opportunity to try out the online person-centred health information application. The Public Seminar and Reception will be held at the university’s Northwest Building on Thursday, February 13th, at 7 p.m., but attendees are encouraged to arrive earlier to mingle and enjoy hot beverages.

Those who would like to attend are asked to RSVP to [email protected].

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