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UMSON professor to study how to prepare families for the dying process

Monday January 28, 2013
Debra Wiegand, RN
Debra Wiegand, RN
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Debra Wiegand, RN, PhD, CCRN, CHPN, FAHA, FAAN, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, has been awarded a two-year, $422,125 grant from the NIH National Institute of Nursing Research to investigate how best to prepare families for the dying process.

"Our study will assist nurses, physicians and other clinicians in understanding how to help grieving family members through the end-of-life process," Wiegand said in a news release. "The information and support that family members receive from clinicians can be a source of comfort during the bereavement process. We hope that the findings of our research will be a monumental step forward in helping and supporting these families through an extremely difficult transition."

According to the release, studies have shown that families of patients who die in a critical-care setting are at increased risk for psychological and physical problems. Wiegandís study will explore the best clinical approaches for preparing and supporting families through the dying process of critically ill patients. Goals of the study are to develop and refine educational and psychological support interventions to prepare families for this difficult time and to determine whether the proposed new approaches are acceptable to families.

About 60 people will participate in this research. Investigators will focus on the outcomes of the study and the processes to achieve them, while considering barriers, facilitators, intervention fidelity and the feasibility of a larger project.


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