Researchers Study End-of-Life Care in Oregon, Issue Report Card, Engage Health Care Professionals to Improve Care

Starting in 1998, researchers at the Center for Ethics in Health Care at the Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Ore., disseminated information on end-of-life care in a variety of ways and cultivated networks of health care professionals to promote improved end-of-life care through policy change, both in Oregon and throughout the United States.

The project team used data from their earlier studies of patients and families as the basis for further studies of health care providers about the delivery of care at the end of life.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Targeted End-of-Life Projects Initiative.

Key Results

  • The project team reported these results specific to Oregon:

    • The project team developed and distributed a monograph, "The Oregon Report Card: Improving Care of the Dying" to 15,000 health care providers and others.
    • The project team convened two annual "change agent" conferences to cultivate support networks among health care professionals who are leaders in their organizations in improving care of the dying and planned a third conference.
    • A conference for nursing home leaders, "Improving End-of-Life Care in Nursing Facilities," brought together 240 representatives of 76 nursing facilities.

    Results with a national focus included:

    • The project team developed a brochure for a general audience describing the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). The POLST is a physician order that addresses a patient's wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment.
    • The Center for Ethics in Health Care's website expanded to include information on POLST and its development.
    • Project staff explained the use of state-based data in addressing end-of-life issues to policy leaders in Oregon and other states.