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Improving Outcomes Measurement in Palliative Care: The Lasting Impact of Randy Curtis and his Collaborators

  • Christopher E. Cox
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Christopher E. Cox, MD, MPH, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
    Affiliations
    Duke University School of Medicine (C.E.C., D.C.A.), Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA

    Program to Support People and Enhance Recovery (ProSPER) (C.E.C., D.C.A.), Duke University, Duke University School of Medicine, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham North Carolina, USA
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  • Deepshikha Charan Ashana
    Affiliations
    Duke University School of Medicine (C.E.C., D.C.A.), Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA

    Program to Support People and Enhance Recovery (ProSPER) (C.E.C., D.C.A.), Duke University, Duke University School of Medicine, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham North Carolina, USA
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  • Nita Khandelwal
    Affiliations
    Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine (N.K.), University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA

    Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence (N.K., R.A.E.), University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
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  • Arif H. Kamal
    Affiliations
    Duke University School of Medicine (A.H.K.), Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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  • Ruth A. Engelberg
    Affiliations
    Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence (N.K., R.A.E.), University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA

    University of Washington, Department of Medicine (R.A.E.), Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
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      Abstract

      Palliative care research is deeply challenging for many reasons, not the least of which is the conceptual and operational difficulty of measuring outcomes within a seriously ill population such as critically ill patients and their family members. This manuscript describes how Randy Curtis and his network of collaborators successfully confronted some of the most vexing outcomes measurement problems in the field, and by so doing, have enhanced clinical care and research alike. Beginning with a discussion of the clinical challenges of measurement in palliative care, we then discuss a selection of the novel measures developed by Randy and his collaborators and conclude with a look toward the future evolution of these concepts.
      Randy and his foundational work, including both successes as well as the occasional near miss, have enriched and advanced the field as well as (immeasurably) impacted the work of so many others—including this manuscript's authors.

      Key words

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