Category Archives: End-of-life care

Jan 16 2014
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Human Capital News Roundup: Racism and aging, the economics of obesity, a culture of fear for health care navigators, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

Racism may accelerate aging in Black males, according to a study led by David Chae, ScD, MA, Forbes magazine reports. The study found advanced cellular aging in Black men who reported facing more racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black bias, according to the Black-White Implicit Association Test. Chae is an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus. His research was also covered by: CBS News, The Baltimore Sun, The Atlanta Black Star, and The Huffington Post, among other outlets.

In an opinion piece for CNN, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, discusses the ethical issues involved with end-of-life decisions. Rushton specifically addresses the impact of such situations on medical personnel who are providing treatment that may not be welcomed by patients or their family members.

Bloomberg Businessweek covers a National Bureau of Economics Research Reporter article by John Cawley, PhD, in which he discusses the economics of obesity. Cawley, an RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus and member of the program’s National Advisory Committee, addresses health care spending on obesity, the effectiveness of weight-loss products, misuse of body-mass index, and more.

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Jun 13 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Combating compassion fatigue, the effects of poor sleep, living wills, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

Getting less than six hours of sleep a night raises levels of inflammation among women with heart disease, and therefore increases the risk of a heart attack, according to a five-year study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus Aric Prather, PhD. The findings did not hold true for men. United Press International and HealthDay are among the outlets to report on the findings.

RWJF Community Health Leader Darleen Reveille, RN, spoke to The Record about new community gardens in Garfield, New Jersey, and a program that will give 7th-graders and their families hands-on gardening experience as a way to learn healthy eating habits. “We’re trying to raise awareness in a fun way,” she said. “By creating these activities, you’re engaging the community, not just lecturing them on what they should do.”

“Nurses are particularly at risk for becoming overwhelmed and depleted,” RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, told the Washington Post about “compassion fatigue ” She said: “When the clinician suffers, so does the patient,” which is why many hospitals are using creative arts to help nurses manage stress and re-energize. Fierce Healthcare also picked up the story.

A study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumnus Deverick J. Anderson, MD, MPH, finds that small community hospitals have higher rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia than larger hospitals, even though they use ventilators less frequently. The researchers hypothesize the disparity could result from limited familiarity with the equipment and the on-staff availability of fewer respiratory therapists and other specialty workers, News Medical and Fierce Healthcare report.

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Feb 11 2013
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Scholar’s Website Prepares Patients to Make Complex Medical Decisions

Following a study that found serious gaps in advance care planning for decisions about serious illness, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Physician Faculty Scholar Rebecca L. Sudore, MD, has launched an online resource to help patients prepare to make complex medical decisions. Sudore, who led the study, saw a need for an easy-to-use tool , beyond an advance directive form, that could help prepare patients to identify what is important to them in life, communicate their wishes with others, and make informed medical decisions.

PrepareForYourCare.org is a free, easy-to-use online resource that guides patients through all the steps of advance care planning, and incorporates content directly from Sudore’s study. It is written at a fifth-grade reading level, includes voice-overs of all text and large fonts for the visually impaired and closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

More importantly, PREPARE shows people, through videos and a step-by-step process, how to have the conversation and make informed medical decisions.

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Jan 17 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Electronic health records, advance care planning, myths about 'death panels,' and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, Nurse.com recognized RWJF Senior Adviser for Nursing Susan B. Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN, as a “pillar” of the New York/New Jersey nursing community. Hassmiller serves as director of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Nurse.com also honored Beverly L. Malone, RN, PhD, FAAN, a member of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars National Advisory Committee and CEO of the National League for Nursing––one of the organizations leading RWJF’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program.

The New York Times reports on a new analysis by the RAND Corporation, co-authored by Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, FACEP, an alumnus of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program and the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program. The analysis finds that “the conversion to electronic health records has failed so far to produce the hoped-for savings in health care costs and has had mixed results, at best, in improving efficiency and patient care.” The article also quotes RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient David Blumenthal, MD, MPP. Read a post Kellermann wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about health care spending.

Investigator Award recipient and RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar program alumnus Peter Ubel, MD, wrote an article for Forbes about a study he co-authored with RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Brendan Nyhan, PhD, and Jason Reifler, PhD, that finds the “death panel” myth––that the government would decide who was “worthy of health care” under the Affordable Care Act––has persisted, and may even grow with time. The Washington Post Wonk Blog also reported on the study. Read a post Ubel wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

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Oct 18 2012
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Human Capital News Roundup: Rationing end-of-life care, nursing joint degree programs, diabetes diagnoses, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, FACEP, was one of several experts taking part in a recent “Intelligence Squared U.S.” debate, grappling with the pros and cons of rationing end-of-life care, NPR reports. Kellermann is both an RWJF Clinical Scholars and RWJF Health Policy Fellows alumnus, and serves on the Clinical Scholars program’s National Advisory Committee.

The Mohawk Valley Business Journal in Central New York state reports on a joint nurse-training program that will allow high school graduates to earn both associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing in four years, and sit for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s National Council Licensure Examination after three years. The program is funded by a grant from RWJF’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program.

Research co-led by Jennifer Wenzel, PhD, RN, an alumna of the RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program, finds that married South Korean women with diabetes say they believe that the stress of caring for their families played a role in contracting the disease, according to a United Press International (UPI) story. The study also found that many of the women "did not make enough time to care for themselves because of their obligations to the family," UPI reports, noting that the women often had difficulty managing their disease because their husbands and children disapproved of diabetes-friendly meals.

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Jan 6 2012
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New Year's Resolution: Fully Informed Choices

As we head into 2012, the Human Capital Blog asked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff, program directors, scholars and grantees to share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system, and what they think should be the priorities for action in the New Year. This post is by Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Rudin Professor of Nursing and Co-Director, Center for Health, Media & Policy, Hunter College, City University of New York; Strategic Adviser, Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action; co-editor, “The Nursing Profession: Development, Challenges, Opportunities,” RWJF Health Policy Book Series.

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While I was editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing, I and some of the editorial staff noticed that most of the manuscripts we received for our narrative column, Reflections, were about death and dying. We begged people to submit columns on other topics, lest Reflections become As I Lay Dying. But I shouldn't have been surprised.

As a nurse and daughter of a man who died at 58 from metastatic cancer, I have cared for many dying people and have been privileged to be with some at the moment of their deaths. I've had patients who told me that they were going to die that night—and they did. I've seen an 85-year-old woman kept alive on a respirator with an open abdominal wound for four weeks before she became septic and died, despite her stated wishes to not have such extraordinary measures. Caring for my father during the last month of his life was the most precious gift I was able to give to him—and to myself. Yet, I had to fight with the health care system to ensure that he was adequately medicated when hospitalized or to be able to remain with him during an emergency room procedure. I fought to take him home so he could die there, as he wished, with love and comfort care.

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These experiences imprint themselves indelibly on our memories and our souls. They can be rich and profoundly move us to confronting the realities of our own life and inevitable death. Or they can make us witnesses to torture and inhumane treatment of the dying, and shake our core beliefs about how a rational, caring society behaves.

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