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Researchers focus on helping dying patients take care of unfinished business
Date:11/17/2009

uman Strengths and Traits) to encourage research and recruit faculty in this area. The National Institute of Nursing Research funds the research.

Over the next year, three faculty members will receive support to concentrate 75 percent of their time on research. Each faculty member will receive $30,000 to launch a new project. As part of the hiring requirements, researchers must have a project ready to begin at their start date.

Approximately 20 faculty members across the Case Western Reserve campus work in the area of end-of-life issues. As one function of the BEST Center, the Palliative Care Education and Research Leadership (PEARL) group will meet regularly with the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas and findings.

"Many people want the end-of-life experience to be meaningful," says Prince-Paul, assistant professor of nursing and hospice nurse at Hospice of the Western Reserve who has worked in hospice and palliative care for nearly 20 years.

With funding from the American Cancer Society, 163 patients ages 18 and older with an advanced cancer diagnosis will participate and test a new communication tool developed by Prince-Paul.

Patients will be interviewed three times over the course of a year or at the time they enter hospice care about what they feel is important. They will see how life goals and key communication expressions, such as love, gratitude, and forgiveness might change.

Prince-Paul explains, when people come face to face with death, hospice care workers have noticed that people want to "clean up" unfinished business.

"At the end of life, people have limited ability and energy to communicate. We need to strategize and capitalize on the time they have to facilitate those things that matter most in their life," says Prince-Paul.

Families sometimes have unresolved issues to settle, too. Exline, a psychologist and associate professor of psychology, and Prince-Paul will
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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