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Dr. Leslie Scheunemann Receives an NIA F32 Grant for Her Project Focused on Improving Communication of Critically Ill Patients’ Values

Tue, 09/16/2014

Dr. Leslie Scheunemann recently received an NIA F32 grant for her project, “Communicating with Surrogate Decision Makers about Incapacitated ICU Patients' Values.”

Dr. Scheunemann’s project is focused on developing research tools that will allow the future testing of interventions to improve communication and decision-making based on incapacitated patients’ values. Patients with advanced critical illness often receive treatment they would not have wanted. One important factor contributing to this problem is that clinicians and families frequently do not discuss the patient’s values and preferences during clinician-family conferences about goals of care. The long-term goal of Dr. Scheunemann’s project is “to develop evidence-based interventions to ensure that incapacitated patients’ values and preferences are reliably incorporated into goals of care.”

Dr. Scheunemann’s team will develop three research tools:

1) a high-fidelity simulation, which is a laboratory to study and intervene on how physicians elicit and incorporate incapacitated patients’ values into life support decisions;

2) consensus among a diverse stakeholder panel about which communication skills for eliciting and incorporating patients’ values are most important for interventions to target; and

3) a checklist outcome measure to quantify intervention effectiveness.

Dr. Scheunemann, MD, MPH, is currently a critical care research fellow, who entered the program as part of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care’s Fellowship Training Program. In addition to pulmonary and critical care training, she has a background in Geriatric Medicine. She is being mentored by Drs. Doug White and Bob Arnold on this and other research.