VUSN Lands Pediatric Palliative Care Grant

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has been awarded a $1.8 million grant by National Institutes of Health/ National Institute of Nursing Research.

The four-year grant is in partnership with the Palliative Care Research Cooperative (PCRC), will recruit children with advanced or relapsed cancer via Facebook and develop a web-based tool so they can create electronic storyboards reflecting their lives. Terrah Foster Akard, PhD, RN, the principal investigator, believes this will help the children and their parents better cope and adjust to these difficult health conditions.

Preliminary data from Akard’s prior work show that face-to-face legacy-making interventions can improve coping and adjustment for children with cancer. This grant is specifically targeted to children between the ages 7 and 17 who have cancer that does not respond to treatment or who are dealing with a cancer relapse. It will also look at coping strategies for parents and caregivers.

The grant will start recruiting 170 children in January 2015, and will guide the children to create an electronic digital storyboard about themselves. Along the way, the children will answer legacy-making questions about themselves, upload photographs, videos and music and share the finished piece with parents and caregivers. The results will add to the greater body of pediatric palliative care and end of life knowledge.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute Of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01NR015353. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.