New NIH Site Tackles End-of-Life Education

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Death is an intricate part of the fabric of life, shaping societies in ways both seen and unseen. While healthcare for the elderly is a common topic among the public and health researchers, there is one aspect of the subject that is often avoided until it is too late - the very end. Though many decisions go into end-of-life care and treatment, discussions about the topic can often be scary and are avoided to the detriment of seniors.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced that it is seeking to remedy this in some small way through a new portion of its NIHSeniorHealth website. The new End of Life website module is now online and filled with information for seniors, their loved ones, and their caregivers.

“Few of us are comfortable talking about death, our own or a loved one’s," said said Patricia Grady, director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). "While such reluctance is natural, it can leave people unprepared and uncertain of where to find answers, especially when they are needed most. “As the lead NIH institute for research in this area, NINR supports science to assist individuals, families, and health care professionals with end-of-life symptom management and decision making. Our goal with this module is to help people learn what to expect during the final stage of life so they can plan ahead.”

The new website provides information on services such as hospice and home care while also emphasizing the physical and mental challenges and needs that those caring for seniors nearing the end of their life may need help with. Specific topics include planning for end-of-life care, dealing with pain, relevant health care topics, and, of course, dealing with the grief associated with the passing of a loved one.

In addition to the health and emotional topics related to end-of-life care, the NIH site delves into more practical concerns that can often be clouded by the emotional nature of end-of-life realities. Financial topics such as paying for end-of-life care are a part of the site, as is information on current research begin done on the topic.

Image via Thinkstock

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