Docherty Awarded More Than $450k from NIH to Improve Palliative Care Delivery

Sharron Docherty

Sharron Docherty, PhD, PNP-BC, FAAN, associate professor, and her co-principle investigator, Christopher Cox, MD, associate professor of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, were recently awarded $497,832 from the National Institutes of Health – National Institute of Nursing Research for their project entitled “Needs and triggers: Improving intensive care unit-based palliative care delivery.” Their project is funded for two years, from April 12, 2018 until March 31, 2020.

Their two-year prospective cohort study aims to characterize palliative care needs as reported by ICU family members to derive clinically relevant need typologies and use the need typologies to develop a provisional need-targeted collaborative model of ICU-based palliative care delivery. The study will evaluate the association between needs and popular clinical markers of poor outcomes as well as the impact of unmet needs on long-term family member distress.

“Hundreds of thousands of patients and their families struggle with physical symptoms, emotional distress and end-of-life decision making in the ICU setting,” says Docherty. “Despite increased attention to this suffering, the overall quality of ICU-based palliative care is suboptimal.”

This award will help further research by providing resources to conduct a two-year prospective cohort study involving patients, family members and clinicians at both academic and community sites to overcome clinical barriers, she added.

Ultimately, their study aims to provide a novel approach to the seamless delivery of high-quality ICU-based palliative care through the use of a digital bedside palliative care needs tool. This electronic patient-reported outcome web-based system allows families to report both need and outcomes at the bedside or at home. Ascertaining need in a standardized language understood by families and clinicians alike is crucial to individualizing care.


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