Professor of Nursing; Canada Research Chair in Person-Centred Outcomes
Neufeld Science Centre, Langley/BC
+1 (604) 513-2121 ext. 3274
+1 (604) 513-2012

Department(s) or Program(s)


Throughout my career as a registered nurse, researcher, and educator, I have been motivated by a desire to find ways of reorienting system-driven healthcare that focuses on what works for a majority of the populace, to person-centred healthcare that pays attention to those whose needs are not being met and that promotes greater agency to patients in identifying priorities for their own healthcare.

Sawatzky joined the TWU School of Nursing in 2001 and is additionally affiliated Professor at the prestigious Salgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg (Centre for Person-Centred Care),  head of the Patient-Reported Outcomes program at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHEOS), lead in Patient-Centred Measurement Methods with the British Columbia Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials Unit, and methodological advisor with the British Columbia Ministry of Health Office of Patient-Centred Measurement.

As Canada Research Chair in Person-Centred Outcomes, Sawatzky has become a leader in for person-centred outcomes measurement and quality of life assessments in healthcare, with a particular emphasis on people who are living with chronic life-limiting illnesses and their family caregivers. His research includes projects on:

  1. Methodological research to improve person-centred health outcomes measurement in diverse populations
  2. Mixed-methods clinical research on eHealth solutions to integrate quality of life assessments in healthcare for older adults and their family caregivers
  3. Knowledge synthesis and translation to support the use of person-centred outcome measures by patients, clinicians, and healthcare leaders.

Dr. Sawatzky’s clinical background is in palliative care and medical nursing care. He has taught undergraduate courses on nursing research, medical and surgical nursing, nursing care of older adults, and health assessment as well as graduate courses on knowledge synthesis and quantitative research methods in the Master of Science in Nursing program.

Find out more about research by Dr. Sawatzky and his team at, including links to introductory resources and videos on Patient-Reported Outcomes, quality of life assessments for older adults and family caregivers, and people living with kidney disease.


Research & Scholarship


FUNDED research

Led or co-led by Dr. Sawatzky (see CV for further details and other research projects).

  • Person-Centred e-Health Information System. R. Sawatzky (principal investigator). Funder: Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), John R. Evans Leaders Fund, $ 169,795. (2018/6 – 2023/5)
  • Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on health outcomes and healthcare experiences as reported by frail older adults who are living at home, and their family caregivers. R. Sawatzky, K. Schick-Makaroff (principal investigators); B. Fominoff, C. Beach (principal knowledge users). Funder: BC Academic Health Science Network Society, COVID-19 Grant, $ 46,186. (2020/4 – 2021/3)
  • Including Patient Voice in Healthcare System Performance: Development of Patient-Centred Care Indicators. P. Lopez (M. Jose), H. Quan, & R. Sawatzky (principal investigators); S. E. Brien, B. M. Lashewicz, K. H. Leeb, D. Lorenzetti, M. Lu, K. Manalili, M. O'Beirne, T. T. Sajobi, V. W. Yiu, & S. Zelinsky (co-investigators). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant, $ 252,450 (2018/2 - 2021/2)
  • No one size fits all for measuring what matters: Supporting the use of PRO data in healthcare. R. Sawatzky, J-Y. Kwon (principal investigators); E. Stringham (Decision Maker). Funder: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Canadian Institutes of Health Research, REACH Grant, $ 15,000 (2019/9 - 2020/8)
  • Supporting Quality of Life Assessments of Frail Older Adults and their Family Caregivers. R. Sawatzky & K. Schick-Makaroff (principal investigators); R. Cohen, L. Cuthbertson, N. Hilliard, E. Laforest, J. Ohlen, L. Russell, K. Stajduhar, T. Stephen, L. Terblanche & A. Wolff (co-investigators); J. Carlson, S. Cory, J. Gerke, M. Karimi-Dehkordi, M. Kuo, M. Mancuso, B. MacLean, J. McLean & B. McLeod (collaborators); G. Cowman, J. Huang, M. Luk, & A. Maybee (patient collaborators); B. Forde, E. Stringham, & L. Zetes-Zanatta (decision makers); L. Chung, D. Duquette & T. Lepp (HQPs). Funder: Canadian Fraility Network, 2018 Catalyst Grant Competition, $99,937 (2018-2020)
  • Including Patient Voice in Healthcare System Performance: Development of Patient-Centred Care Indicators. P. Lopez (M. Jose), H. Quan, & R. Sawatzky (principal investigators); S. E. Brien, B. M. Lashewicz, K. H. Leeb, D. Lorenzetti, M. Lu, K. Manalili, M. O'Beirne, T. T. Sajobi, V. W. Yiu, & S. Zelinsky (co-investigators). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant, $ 252,450 (2018-2021)
  • Statistical Methods for Patient-Reported Outcome Measures. R. Sawatzky, & T.T. Sajobi (principal investigators); E.R. Bohm, S. Bryan, A.M. Gadermann, W. Hopman, J. Liu, L. Lix, N.E. Mayo, K.M. Sibley, & X. Wu (co-investigators); L.N. Cuthbertson, & G.K. Webster (knowledge users). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Operational Grant Program; $309,764. (2015-2018).
  • Electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes in Clinical Kidney Practice (ePRO Kidney). K. Schick-Makaroff & R. Sawatzky (principal investigators); S. Klarenbach (principal knowledge user); R. Cohen, S. Palfreyman, & R. Pauly (co-investigators); L. Cuthbertson, J. MacRae, R. Quinn, F. Reintjes, & J. Wu (knowledge-users); B. Forde, L. Lee, F. Robles, G.Vitale, & J. Voth (collaborators). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant; $424,298. (2016-2019).
  • Integrating a Quality of Life Assessment and Practice Support System in Homecare Services for Older Adults with Life-limiting Illness and Their Families. R. Sawatzky (principal investigator); R. Cohen, K. Schick-Makaroff, & K. Stajduhar (co-principal investigators); N. Hilliard (clinician lead/principal knowledge user); L. Zetes-Zanatta (decision maker/ principal knowledge user); Bottorff, S. Bryan, P. Dodek, K. Fraser, A. Gadermann, E. Laforest, M. Parrilla Lopez, S. Reimer-Kirkham, P.A. Ratner, L. Russell, H. Tsang, M. Santana, & D. Whitehurst (co-investigators); T. Edwards, G. Ewing, G. Grande, & J. Öhlén (international collaborators); S. Baxter, S. Brown, J. Carlson, S. Cory, L. Cuthbertson, J. Gerke, B. McLeod, C. Paul, J. Resin, D. Roberts, C. Tayler, D. Williscroft, & J. Warneboldt (knowledge users). Partners: Fraser Health; Cambian Business Services, Inc; J. Voth & Intogrey Research and Development. This research is supported by: Geoff Cowman, CARP (Richmond/Delta.; Barb MacLean, Family Caregivers of British Columbia (; Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (; The Canadian Virtual Hospice; Mary Lok, Alies Maybee, & Catherine Yau (patient/family caregiver representatives). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Electronic Health Innovation Partnership Program; C$749,816. (2015-2019).
  • Impacts of a Palliative Approach for Nursing (iPANEL). K. I. Stadjuhar, & C. Tayler (co-principal investigators); R. Sawatzky, A. Syme, B. McLeod, B. Pesut, D. Roberts, G. Doane, M. Funk, … (co-investigators).  Funder:  Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, BCNRI Investigative Team; $940,307. (2010-2017). See:


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (2007)
University of British Columbia, School of Nursing, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Dissertation: The Measurement of Quality of Life and its Relationship with Perceived Health Status in Adolescents.

Master of Science in Nursing (2002)
University of British Columbia, School of Nursing, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Thesis: A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship between Spirituality and Quality of life

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1999)
Trinity Western University, Langley, BC, Canada

Awards & Honors

  • 2020: Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Nursing (FCAN)
  • 2019: Centenary Medal of Distinction. Presented by the University of British Columbia, School of Nursing.
  • 2013 – Current: Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Person-Centred Outcomes (Title prior to 2017 – Patient-Reported Outcomes). Granting Council:  CIHR. 
  • 2016: Excellence in Advancing Nursing Knowledge and Research Award. Presented by the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia.

Recent Publications

Please see journal publications listed in the following: GOOGLE SCHOLAR | PUBMED | RESEARCHGATE | RESEARCHERID


Sawatzky, R., Sajobi, T.T., Brahmbhatt, R., Chan, E.K.H., Lix, L.M. Zumbo, B.D. (2017). Longitudinal change in response processes: A response shift perspective. In Zumbo, B.D., Hubley, A.M. Understanding and investigating response processes in validation research. New York: Springer.

Cohen, S.R., & Sawatzky, R. (2015). Quality of life assessment in palliative care.  In Bruera, E., Higginson, I., von Gunten, C.F., & Morita, T. (Eds.), Textbook of palliative medicine and supportive care (2nd ed.) (pp. 361-370). Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Sawatzky, R., & Ratner, P. A. (2014). Medline.  In A. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of well-being quality of life (pp. 3975-3981). Dordrecht: Springer.

Thorne, S., & Sawatzky, R. (2014). Nursing. In A. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of well-being and quality of life (pp. 4399-4402). Dordrecht: Springer.


Sawatzky, R., Kwon, J.-Y., Barclay, R., Chauhan, C., Frank, L., van den Hout, W. B., . . . the Response Shift – in Sync Working, G. (2021). Implications of response shift for micro-, meso-, and macro-level healthcare decision-making using results of patient-reported outcome measures. Quality of Life Research. doi:10.1007/s11136-021-02766-9

Wilson, R., Cuthbertson, L., Kazis, L.E., Sawatzky, R. (Accepted April 2, 2020). Measuring Health Status in Long-Term Residential Care: Adapting the Veterans RAND 12 Item Health Survey (VR-12©). Clinical Gerontologist, xx(x), pp-pp.

Axelsson, L., Alvariza, A., Carlsson, N., Cohen, S. R., Sawatzky, R., & Årestedt, K. (2020). Measuring quality of life in life-threatening illness – content validity and response processes of MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F in swedish patients and family carers. BMC Palliative Care, 19(1), 1-9. doi:10.1186/s12904-020-00549-6

Poureslami, I., Shum, J., Kopec, J., Sawatzky, R., Gupta, S., Pakhale, S., Kassay, S., Starnes, K., Akhtar, A., FitzGerald, M., Canadian Airways Health Literacy Study Group. (Accepted February 9, 2020). Development and pretesting of a new functional-based health literacy measurement tool for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma Management. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, xx(x), pp-pp.

Schick-Makaroff, K., Sawatzky, R., & QPSS Research Team. (2020). Divergent perspectives on the use of the Edmonton symptom assessment system (revised) in palliative care. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 22(1), 75-81. doi:10.1097/NJH.0000000000000617

Bryan, S., Suryaprakash, N., Sawatzky, R., Mulldoon, M., Le Mercier, M., Moorthy, D., Gandhi, R., Bains, S., Li, L., Doyle-Waters, M., Brown, S.,Goldsmith, L. (Accepted January 29, 2020). A research agenda to improve patients’ experience of knee replacement surgery: A patient-oriented modified Delphi study of BC patients of South Asian origin. CMAJ Open, xx(x), pp-pp.

Schick-Makaroff, K., Karimi-Dehkordi, M., Cuthbertson, L., Dixon, D., Cohen, S.R., Hilliard, N., Sawatkzy, R. (Online First – January 16, 2020). Using patient- and family-reported outcome and experience measures to inform continuity across transitions of care for frail older adults living at home: A meta-narrative synthesis. The Gerontologist, 2020, xx(x), 1-16. doi:10.1093/geront/gnz162 .

Öhlén, J., Sawatzky, R., Pettersson, M.R., Sarenmalm, E.K., Håkanson, C., Smith, F., Wallengren, C., Friberg, F., Kodeda K., Carlsson, E. (2019). Preparedness for colorectal cancer surgery and recovery through a person-centred information and communication intervention – a quasi-experimental longitudinal design. PLoS ONE, 14(12), e0225816. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225816

Cohen, S. R., Russell, L. B., Leis, A., Shahidi, J., Porterfield, P., Kuhl, D. R., Gadermann, A. M., & Sawatzky, R. (2019). More comprehensively measuring quality of life in life-threatening illness: The McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire – Expanded. BMC Palliative Care, 18(92), 1-11. doi:10.1186/s12904-019-0473 -y

Affiliations & Memberships

Lead of Patient-Centred Measurement Methods Cluster         2018 (Feb) – current
British Columbia Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials
Vancouver, B.C.

Affiliate Professor                                                                   2018 (Feb) – current
University of Gothenburg, Salgrenska Academy
Gothenburg, Sweden

Program Head in Patient-Reported Outcomes                        2017 – current
University of British Columbia – Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences
Vancouver, B.C.

Research Affiliate                                                                   2016 – current
University of Victoria – Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health
Victoria, B.C.

Affiliate Associate Professor                                                   2015 – current
University of British Columbia – Measurement Evaluation and Research Methodology Program, Faculty of Education
Vancouver, B.C.

Adjunct Associate Professor                                                   2012 – current
University of Victoria – School of Nursing
Victoria, B.C.


Sawatzky’s expertise lies in theoretical and methodological foundations of health-related quality of life and patient-reported outcomes assessment. Methods include psychometrics, quantitative analysis, latent variable modeling, qualitative approaches, and mixed-methods.

Research Interests:     Instruments and approaches for the measurement of patient-reported outcomes and quality of life in health services research and clinical practice, with a specific focus on the use of these instruments in healthcare for people with chronic life-limiting illnesses.

Research Experience Summary:  Current research includes studies about patient-reported outcomes, a palliative approach in nursing, the use of computerized assessment systems, methods for the measurement of quality of life in longitudinal studies, spiritual and religious diversity in healthcare, educational approaches for patients with colorectal cancer, and patients' experiences with knee surgery.

Research Specialization Key Words: Patient-reported outcomes, quality of life research, palliative approach, life-limiting chronic illness, measurement validation, computer adaptive testing, knowledge synthesis, psychometrics, spirituality and health

Research Centres:  Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHEOS) – University of British Columbia & Providence Health Care; Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health – University of Victoria; Sahlgrenska Academy & Centre for Person-Centred Care – University of Gothenburg

Courses Taught

  • Nursing Inquiry II (quantitative methods) (N540)
  • Knowledge synthesis (N520)
  • Consolidation of Nursing Practice (N482)
  • Nursing Research (N332)
  • Nursing Care of Older Adults (N245)
  • Health Assessment (N116)