Aging, Community and Health Research Unit Community Partnership Program for Diabetes Self-Management for Older Adults - Canada

Nominated Principal Applicant: Dr. Jenny Ploeg (McMaster University)

Principal Applicants from Alberta: Dr. Tyler Williamson (University of Calgary),

Dr. Dean Eurich (University of Alberta)

Provinces involved: Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and PEI


Living with diabetes and other chronic (ongoing) conditions is common in older adults. These individuals have poorer health and higher use of health services compared to older adults with diabetes alone. Programs that help older adults self-manage their diabetes and other health conditions benefit both individuals and the healthcare system. The McMaster University Aging, Community and Health Research Unit developed and tested a new patient-centered, community-based program to improve the delivery and outcomes of care for older adults with diabetes and other chronic conditions. This 6-month program was developed in partnership with patients, caregivers, primary and community care providers and researchers. The program is delivered by nurses, dietitians and community providers. It involves in-home visits by nurses and dietitians, monthly group wellness sessions at community centers, and monthly team meetings. Wellness sessions include exercise, education, shared meals, and social support. Caregivers are invited to be active participants along with patients. The program was successfully implemented in Ontario and Alberta. Participants who received the program had better quality of life, self-management, and mental health at no additional cost compared to those receiving usual care. To determine how the program can best help people, more testing is needed with different communities and groups of people. We will partner with primary healthcare teams (e.g., family doctors' offices) in three provinces to adapt and test the program in a variety of real-world settings. We will assess how to best put this program into practice and measure outcomes important to patients and caregivers so study results are relevant to them. Study findings will guide the development of a plan for expanding the program to reach and benefit more older adults with diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Patients and caregivers will be involved as key partners in all aspects of the research.

The Alberta SPOR PIHCIN will provide support for this project in the following areas:

  • Access to networking support in Alberta and nationally through the SPOR PIHCIN network of networks;
  • Methodology development support through the Alberta SPOR PIHCIN Coordinator and Tripartite Leads; 
  • Networking connections to the Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) and relevant primary health care and public health networks in Alberta;
  • Provide patient feedback on the LOI that was submitted in development of the grant proposal;
  • Facilitate any requested expertise from the seven Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Platforms to ensure that integration from research into care has a significant positive impact for patients and the health care system. 

Conference presentation: (to be updated)

Publication: (to be updated)

Contact information:

Dr. Tyler Williamson
Community Health Sciences
University of Calgary
+1 (403) 210-6033