Published: 13-10-2015 09:55 | Updated: 08-04-2024 09:56

We need to discuss end-of-life

Carol Tishelman is an experienced KI professor although she has been recently appointed as Professor of Innovative Care at the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, with a newly established professorial chair funded by an endowment. She is active in research into how people experience sickness and health care – at present focusing particularly on end-of-life care.

Professor Carol Tishelman. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

In 2006, Carol Tishelman became Professor of Nursing at KI. Her research has primarily concerned the experiences of sickness and care from the perspective of patients, family, and nursing staff, and how care processes can be improved on the basis of this knowledge. She is particularly interested in end-of-life care.

In a newly started research programme DöBra (literally meaning Dying Well, but idiomatically meaning “awesome”), Tishelman collaborates with different sectors of society –e.g. interest groups, organisations, museums, theatres – to investigate how the situation for dying people and those close to them can be improved.

“Most people say they prefer to die at home, according to a survey we carried out, about 70 per cent. Nevertheless, a very large share of these people die in acute care hospitals. One reason for this may be that we don’t discuss our priorities and values around the end-of-life with those close to us. In DöBra we investigate, for example, ways to initiate such conversations.”

Work situation and the quality of care

Another area that interests Carol Tishelman is the link between staff experiences of their work situation and the quality of the care. Among other things, she has shown a relationship between a poor working situation for nurses and deficits in patient safety. Her new professorial position, funded with a donation from the Swedish investment company Investor, is located at both the Medical Management Centre, at KI and the Innovation Center at Karolinska University Hospital.

“An important element of this new role is to be a ‘match maker’ between stakeholders in health care, research and education, who share an interest in innovation. I have worked to bridge this gulf for several decades,” she says.

Text: Anders Nilsson, first published in "From Cell to Society" 2015. Translation from Swedish: Carol Tishelman.