End of life Navigation


End of life Navigation

Project Title

An Inter-provincial comparison of Innovative programs that help individuals and families affected by life-limiting chronic illnesses navigate end-of-life.

Time Period and Funding

2018-2020, CIHR Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Primary and Integrated Primary Care Innovations (PIHCI) Comparative Program and Policy Analysis Grant. $124,540 over two years plus 1:1 matching funds

Principal Investigators

Robin Urquhart (Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Dalhousie), Grace Warner (Dalhousie), Cheryl Tschupruk (NSHA, Knowledge User), Kelli Stajduhar (U Victoria), Kathy Pfaf (U Windsor)


Grace Johnston (Dalhousie, NSHA), Bev Lawson (Dalhousie), Lisa Garland Baird (UPEI), Denise Marshall (McMaster), Michelle Howard (McMaster), Lisa Dolovich, (McMaster), Suzanne McMurphy (U Windsor), Leslie Malloy-Weir (McMaster)

Patient Representatives: Juanna Ricketts (NS), J Purdon, D Roberts, D Sattler


  • Use integrated knowledge translation to engage patients/families and knowledge users in research.
  • Identify Canadian innovative community-based navigation programs, and components that address the needs of individuals affected by life-limiting illness and their families who are living in the community.
  • Compare how well these programs a) improve individuals’ and families’ navigation by increasing their awareness of, access to, and/or coordination between needed services and supports; b) are integrated into primary healthcare services and systems of care; and c) support end of life goals including preferences for care and death.
  • Identify the determinants of successful implementation of these innovative programs in different institutional, policy, and socio-political contexts.


This two-phased project use realist evaluation as the methodological framework to evaluate navigation programs and their implementation.

Phase 1 will involve a horizon scan of innovative community-based navigation programs across Canada to select and evaluate innovative programs. A Delphi panel will then be undertaken with our patient/family and knowledge user team members to rank programs according to those they feel are most meaningful to addressing patient and/or family needs as they approach EOL.

Phase 2 will involve document analysis and semi-structured interviews with key informants from the top-ranked 15 programs to understand how programs work in various contexts.