The Comox Valley Community Foundation is granting $130,000 to the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation and Island Health for research focused on engaging the community to build aging/dementia research capacity in the Comox Valley.
Through consultation, the project will provide opportunities for seniors, their loved ones, and caregivers to help identify research priorities focused on aging and dementia with the intent of enhancing the quality of care provided in the Comox Valley.
Patients and people with lived and living experience, researchers, clinicians, and decision-makers will first come together in a one-day patient-oriented workshop scheduled for fall of 2023 to identify research priorities. Grant and fellowship funding will then support research in the areas prioritized by the consultation session, informing how future care is provided in the Valley.
Specifically, the project aims to:
1. Pinpoint community and health system gaps/barriers to aging and dementia care and identify research priorities and questions that matter to the aging population of the Comox Valley.
2. Connect the Comox Valley to research and clinical expertise from across the Island.
3. Build and enable patient-oriented research teams that address research questions that matter to the aging and dementia community of the Comox Valley.
4. Build cross-Island collaborations and develop the foundation for a dementia/aging research network in the Valley.
“We’re thrilled that the Comox Valley Community Foundation and the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation are supporting research collaborations with patients and communities to improve care and services,” said Cindy Trytten, director of research at Island Health.
“The Filberg Medical Research grant will empower the people who receive our services to identify their research priorities for aging and dementia care by bringing them together with researchers, clinicians, and health system leaders to improve the experience and outcomes of care,” added Max Jajszczok, executive director, rural and remote strategy.
“Aging well and growing old are on the minds of many in our community,” said Bill Anglin, president, Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation. “We all strive to be healthy and when needed, access care close to home. Because it matters to you and so many in our community, Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation, working alongside Island Health, is placing a spotlight directly on aging well and growing old. We are grateful for the generous funding provided by the Comox Valley Community Foundation to support this essential project to engage our community in identifying priorities and questions that matter in accessing the care we all need, as we age.”
“The Comox Valley’s population is one of the oldest in all of British Columbia, statistically older than the B.C. average by seven years,” explained Christine Helpard, CVCF’s president. “Looking ahead, the number of people aged 60+ is growing and growing fast, with the highest level of growth experienced in the 75+ age group. On northern Vancouver Island, this age group is expected to triple over the next 18 to 20 years. These figures will place significant pressure on the healthcare system and this project offers a way forward for patient-informed care in our community.”
Funding for this project was made possible through the Robert and Florence Filberg Fund for Medical Research, which Comox Valley Community Foundation administers on behalf of the Vancouver Foundation. Island Health and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC have also committed in-kind support of this project, in the amount of $57,200.
The BC SUPPORT (SUpport for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Unit and its regional centres operate within the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). The BC SUPPORT Unit Island Centre is embedded in Island Health’s Research Department and supports the engagement of people with lived experience in the design and conduct of health research, with the ultimate goal of producing evidence that is valuable for patients and has good potential to improve health outcomes.