CMU Professor Hopes to Break the Stigma, Educate Health Care Specialists on Palliative Care

A psychology professor at Central Michigan University is teaming up with a group of health care specialists across the country in hopes to educate doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers about palliative care.

Palliative care is a newer method of treatment based on the needs of an individual, not necessarily the patient’s prognosis.

Specialists focus on the patient’s quality of life, treating the pain from the symptoms and stress.

Jim Gerhart, a psychology professor at CMU, recently started working with a team of health care professionals to create an online training community for doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers.

The goal is to increase understanding, acceptance and delivery of palliative care and help providers work productively with patients and families.

“Part of what happens is people confuse it with hospice. Palliative Care is really about helping people manage the problems that usually come with a serious illness like cancer, so you think about pain, nausea, shortness of breath and you know the stress that comes with it,” says Gerhart, director of the department’s Pain, Stress and Symptom Management Lab.”

Gerhart says communication, a healthy lifestyle and good humor are great ways to cope with a serious illness.

Click here to learn more about Gerhart’s work on Palliative Care.