Recent Extra-Curricular Knowledge Translation Activities by TRP Students: A Brief Rundown
Christopher A. Klinger, Ph.D. and Raza M. Mirza, Ph.D. (TRP Translators) for the TRP | July 2022
Knowledge translation, defined by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as “… a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange, and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products, and strengthen the health care system”, is an integral part of bringing ‘knowledge to action’.
A number of current and former Translational Research Program (TRP) students are actively engaged in knowledge translation activities, including some stemming from extra-curricular research/knowledge synthesis activities conducted in collaboration with TRP Translators.
At the April 2022 Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) Annual Conference, extra-curricular work on interventions for grieving and bereaved informal caregivers by recent TRP graduates Ankita Ankita, Ayeshah Haque, Neerjah Skantharajah, Carly Thrower, and Andrew Wan, TRP Translators Drs. Christopher Klinger and Raza Mirza, and colleagues was presented as an Oral Paper. Stemming from their involvement with a research team linked to the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada’s (QELCCC) Research and Knowledge Translation Committee, the scoping review of the Canadian literature – following Arksey and O’Malley’s 5-step framework – aimed to identify interventions addressing the grief and bereavement experiences of informal caregivers in the hospice palliative/end-of-life care realm.
Three themes were identified following thematic content analysis:
(1) Classification of intervention,
(2) Format of intervention, and
(3) Intervention target.
A need for large-scale evaluations of interventions was identified with informal caregivers to be engaged in the process. Furthermore, interdisciplinary collaborations will be necessary to develop, evaluate, and scale future interventions.
The work will also be featured as part of the Grief and Bereavement stream of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association’s (CHPCA) Learning Institute in November 2022.
Building on previous joint work on caregiving for people with a serious illness at the end of life, the research team including recent TRP graduates Ankita Ankita, Zoey Li, and Andrew Wan alongside TRP Translators Drs. Christopher Klinger and Raza Mirza, and colleagues conducted a scoping review of the literature on support for informal caregivers in Canada. Published in the Journal of Palliative Care (JPC) as an Online First, it looked at the availability and efficacy of interventions for informal caregivers providing hospice palliative and end-of-life care. Four major themes were identified through the thematic content analysis: (1) Direct financial support, (2) Direct psycho-socio-spiritual support, (3) Indirect patient information provision/education, and (4) Indirect patient support. Future research should explore further interventions – such as physical activities – to better support this vulnerable population.
In collaboration with Manthagini Kumaresh, also a recent TRP graduate, TRP Translators Drs. Christopher Klinger and Raza Mirza, and colleagues conducted a scoping review on advance care planning in dementia. Published in the Canadian Journal on Aging as an Online First, five themes emerged from thematic content analysis: (1) Feasibility of patient engagement, (2) Opinions regarding medical assistance in dying (MaiD), (3) Knowledge translation to support persons living with dementia, professionals, and caregivers; (4) Barriers to and facilitators of the delivery of holistic dementia care, and (5) Indigenous health considerations. Overall, knowledge translation toward advance care planning should become a routine part of dementia care.
Following work on the grief and bereavement experiences of informal caregivers, the scoping review work geared toward grief and bereavement interventions presented at the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario Annual Conference has now also been published in the Journal of Palliative Care (JPC) as an Online First. A section highlights grief interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic with implications for evidence-based practice.
Congratulations to all TRP students/graduates on their achievements – we are very much looking forward to many more projects applying (scientific) knowledge to improve medicine, health, and care.
Christopher A. Klinger, Ph.D. is a Sessional Instructor I with the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Research Scientist with Pallium Canada – a national non-profit evidence-based organization focused on building professional and community capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care. His research interests are in health systems and policy, with a focus on hospice palliative/end-of-life care. He also chairs the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s (NICE) End-of-Life Issues Theme Team, a knowledge transfer network dedicated to enhancing the care of older adults both in Canada and abroad, and co-chairs the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada’s (QELCCC) Research and Knowledge Translation Committee, a group of national stakeholder organizations concerned about quality end-of-life care. Furthermore, Christopher is a frequent presenter at aging, hospice palliative care, and public administration conferences.
Raza M. Mirza, Ph.D. is a Sessional Instructor II with the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Director of National Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization with HelpAge Canada, part of a global network of organizations under the umbrella of HelpAge International that promotes the right of all older people to lead dignified, healthy, and secure lives. He received his MSc and doctoral degrees from the Graduate Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. His areas of expertise and teaching interest include research methods, medical decision-making, the socio-behavioral determinants of health in persons aging with a chronic illness, health policy, and factors influencing late-life social, mental, and physical well-being. He has been an invited speaker at national and international gerontology and geriatrics conferences, workshops, and symposiums, and has consulted with various levels of government on diverse issues related to an aging population.