Removing barriers to advance care planning for cancer patients and their family caregivers
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IMAGE: Ann Cottingham and Shelley Johns are the corresponding and senior authors of “Addressing Personal Barriers to Advance Care Planning: Qualitative Investigation of a Mindfulness-based Intervention for Adults with Cancer and… view more 

Credit: Regenstrief Institute

INDIANAPOLIS – Thinking about death and discussing emotionally challenging topics such as end-of-life preparations are difficult for most people. Patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers face especially challenging physical and psychological experiences as they navigate a terminal disease and accompanying treatments.

A pilot study from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine explores whether mindfulness, the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present, can enhance the ability of patients and families to consider and discuss emotionally challenging topics — such as end-of-life preparations — and support timely advance care planning.

Twelve patient-family caregiver pairs participated in a pilot study of Mindfully Optimizing Delivery of End-of-Life (MODEL) Care, which combines mindfulness meditation, mindful communication practices, and information about advance care planning. MODEL Care focuses on emotional and communication capacities to enable patients and their family caregivers to respond to the experience of living with advanced cancer and to talk about the disease and future care

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