An analysis of patients' physical, functional, emotional and social quality of life trajectories over the last 18 months of life as they live with serious illness shows that late life isn't all bad.
"Our research shows that despite significant physical and functional challenges, emotional quality of life is maintained and social quality of life improves in the last three months of life," says Monica Frazer, senior research scientist for Allina Health.
Frazer's study is one of several that Allina Health LifeCourse researchers will present at the Gerontological Society of America's 69th Annual Scientific Meeting that begins on November 16 in New Orleans, La.
Eric Anderson, MD, hospice and palliative care physician and LifeCourse principal investigator, will present "Understanding the Lives of Caregivers: Opening the Door to Important Conversations." He says building meaningful partnerships in serious illness care begins with understanding the whole-person concerns of the caregivers.
Sandra Schellinger, MSN, NP-C, hospice and palliative care nurse practitioner and LifeCourse co-investigator, will discuss the dynamic nature of patient self-defined goals over the serious illness experience. She says changing goals affect care, advance care planning, decision making, normalizing difficult conversations, and accessing end of life resources.
Soo Borson, MD, who created the widely-used Mini-Cog, will present data from LifeCourse on a caregiver self-appraisal tool called Managing Your Loved One's Health. Even though family and friends are essential partners in health care, Borson says many have little training or support for this role. MYLOH identifies caregivers' skills and specific coaching and support they need. Borson is a LifeCourse National Advisory Committee member.
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