Montana Professor to Study End-of-life Care on Reservations

BOZEMAN, Mont. — A Montana State University nursing professor has received a nearly $107,000 grant from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to better understand the needs of dying patients on the Blackfeet Reservation.

Dr. Yoshiko Colclough, an assistant professor of nursing, said most hospitals funded by the Indian Health Service are focused on acute care treatment and are lacking in services for chronically ill and dying patients.

“But the reality is people are dying and palliative care is needed,” Colclough said, speaking of caring for the emotional, physical, spiritual and financial needs of dying patients.

Colclough and a team of community members plan to interview the chronically ill, people who have lost family members to chronic illness and those who have cared for the chronically ill to learn about cultural values that could influence end-of-life issues in the community. After conducting and analyzing the interviews, Colclough plans to recommend how to better care for the chronically ill and dying.

“Whatever community people feel is good for them, that’s what I want to do,” Colclough said. “I hope my research will help people, but the community members will also have to stand up for themselves. I want to be a catalyst.”

Colclough’s grant is one of 11, totaling nearly $2 million, the LAF awarded to research institutions in December.

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