Mac study looks to help families discuss end-of-life care during COVID-19
Feb 19, 2021
Photo above: Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen
SOURCE: Hamilton Spectator
By Maria Iqbal, Hamilton Spectator
Long-term-care staff are so swamped with COVID-19 protocols that end-of-life discussions aren’t occurring with residents and families, says a McMaster University professor.
Sharon Kaasalainen, a professor in the school of nursing, says she’s hearing from families that they’re feeling excluded from decisions about their loved one’s care.
“Compassionate care is missing because it’s all around public health protocols,” she said, noting the absence of these conversations is causing “serious concerns.”
Kaasalainen recently met with the Ontario Long Term Care Association and other long-term-care leaders to raise the issue. The point of compassionate care, she says, is to help people become more comfortable talking about death and supporting families through that process.
Kaasalainen’s research involves helping facilitate conversations about end of life in long-term care. She recently received funding to adapt her research for COVID-19, including by developing online tools to support those discussions. The goal is to help residents, families and staff prepare for decisions at the end of a patient’s life.
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