Special Series: Tribute to J Randall Curtis
- The life of a physician-scientist is fast paced, at many times exhausting and simultaneously exhilarating. Never-ending demands, both from our work and personal lives, make it challenging to take the time necessary to reflect on where we are, how we arrived here, and where we are ultimately headed. Then, in a flash, something earth-shattering happens to us or someone we care about. In those moments, when life makes the least sense, we are forced to pause. The news of a terminal diagnosis for our beloved mentor, Randy Curtis, was one such moment.
- 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.