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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NIHSeniorHealth.gov offers comprehensive information on end of life

Symptom management, practical concerns are focus of topic

A new Web resource from the National Institutes of Health is aimed at helping people address a sensitive subject—the end of life. The latest addition to NIHSeniorHealth, the health and wellness website for older adults, the End of Life module provides visitors with information about the most common issues faced by the dying and their caregivers.

“Few of us are comfortable talking about death, our own or a loved one’s. While such reluctance is natural, it can leave people unprepared and uncertain of where to find answers, especially when they are needed most,” said Patricia A. Grady, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), which developed the end-of-life topic for NIHSeniorHealth. “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 End of Life module describes the physical, mental, and emotional needs of people nearing the end of life and suggests ways to maintain their quality of life, such as hospice and home care. It also addresses the often complex practical concerns that can attend death, including financial issues, advance directives, caregiver support, and more. Other topics include:

  • Addressing pain
  • Types and places of end-of-life care
  • Planning and paying for end-of-life care
  • Handling health care issues
  • When the end comes
  • Coping with grief
  • Research efforts

The End of Life module joins an impressive roster of research-based health topics geared toward older adults, including exercise and physical activity, long-term care, safe use of medicines and management of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease. A joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both components of NIH, NIHSeniorHealth is designed to be senior friendly and is tailored to the cognitive and visual needs of older adults. The short, easy-to-read segments of information, large print, open captioned videos and simple navigation make the information on the site easy for older adults to find, see, and understand.

About NINR: NINR supports basic and clinical research that develops the knowledge to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and enhance end-of-life and palliative care. For more information about NINR, visit the website at http://www.ninr.nih.gov.

About NIA: NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The institute’s broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging, and health, go to http://www.nia.nih.gov.

About NLM:  NLM is the world's largest library of the health sciences and collects, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. For more information, visit the website at http://www.nlm.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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This page last reviewed on March 26, 2014

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