The ZULIDAD Round Table

A Participatory Research Project


The ZULIDAD (Zurich Life and Death with Advanced Dementia) Round Table is a participatory research and development project in the field of advanced dementia and essentially pursues two key aims. One is to ensure high levels of relevance to practice in the empirical ZULIDAD studies. The other is to transfer new findings into practice. The Round Table currently has 33 highly motivated members who not only follow the progress of the ZULIDAD studies, but are also closely working together on producing a guide for relatives of dementia patients at the end of their life.

ZULIDAD Round Table Background

One of the key issues of our time, dementia was the third most common cause of death for the over 85s in Switzerland in 2013 (Federal Office of Statistics, 2015). The ZULIDAD study is hoping to find answers to some of the questions arising from death with dementia. The study is funded by the Swiss National Fund (National Research Program NFP 67 Lebensende) and comprises three parts: ZULIDAD-A, ZULIDAD-B and ZULIDAD Round Table. In the ZULIDAD-A study, a comprehensive set of RAI data (documented care data that is routinely recorded in many Swiss nursing homes) are retrospectively analyzed. In the ZULIDAD-B study, family members and caregivers of 126 nursing home residents from 11 homes in and around Zurich are surveyed on a quarterly basis for a period of three years with regard to the health and well-being of the resident.

The ZULIDAD Round Table observes the two empirical investigations and is recognized as an instrument of participatory research. At the UZH Center of Gerontology, which has successfully completed several participatory projects, participatory research is defined as a form of collaboration in which all relevant stakeholders enjoy equal rights during the entire research process.

Aims of the ZULIDAD Round Table

The key concern of the ZULIDAD Round Table is to involve the relevant stakeholders in the research process in order to raise the practice relevance of the research and to promote a swift flow of the results into practice. Although not new, the idea of involving stakeholders in research projects is not well established in age research and has therefore been supported from various sides, e.g. in the National Dementia Strategy 2013-2017 (BAG, 2013). The ZULIDAD Round Table can be said to have a pioneering dimension.

The Round Table has two specific objectives:

  • Greater relevance to practice: The members of the Round Table take part in strategic and scientific reflection and decision-making in the ZULIDAD-A and ZULIDAD–B research projects (e.g. choosing the survey instruments, interpreting results), thereby contributing practice relevance to the research projects
  • Knowledge transfer: Together, the Round Table members develop an independent but subject-related project on the dissemination of the findings. In this context, the members have jointly decided to develop a guide for relatives of people with advanced dementia (The end of life with dementia – a guide for relatives jointly developed by relatives, practitioners and researchers).

Round Table Participants

The ZULIDAD Round Table has 33 members (November 2016). They are divided into three groups, all made up of relatives, practitioners and researchers. The equal distribution of the members among the three groups ensures that the views of the three groups are equally heard.

Collaboration in Practice

The Round Table met for the first time in spring 2013. Since then, eleven meetings have been held and four more are planned for the beginning of 2018. Depending on the project phase, the meetings take place around three times a year, each lasting four hours. The structure of the individual sessions is adapted to the respective content. Common to all meetings is a preparatory meeting held in advance to set the actual contents for the main meeting. All members are invited to attend these preparatory meetings. In this way, participatory collaboration is not restricted simply to the scope of the regular meetings, but is expanded to include definition of each meeting’s agenda and procedure. Each meeting is recorded in detail, ensuring that all members are always equally updated. 


Project members:

Study Heads:

Dr. Stefanie Eicher & Dr. Nathan Theill, (Center for Gerontology and URPP Dynamics of Healthy Aging, UZH)

Project Managers: 

  • PD Dr. med. Henrike Wolf (University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich)
  • Dr. med. Florian Riese (University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich)
  • Prof. Dr. Mike Martin (Center for Gerontology, UZH)
  • PD Dr. med. Albert Wettstein (Zentrum für Gerontologie, UZH)
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Hock (University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich)
  • Heike Geschwindner (Care Centers in the City of Zurich) 


Graphic artist:

Lukas Gallati