Research: Advancing knowledge to improve health outcomes

Palliative Care Research

Palliative Care Research

Current Nursing Research in the Areas of Palliative Care

  • End-of-life communication, treatment decision making, and surrogate decision making
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom science
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Family caregiving
  • Palliative care integration into advanced illness management

Pre-Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Research

Hyejin Kim, PhD, RN is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Nursing Excellence in Palliative Care at Emory School of Nursing. She received her PhD in Nursing (with a focus on palliative and end-of-care) from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA predoctoral (F31) fellow and a 2013-2015 National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Patricia G. Archbold scholar.

Palliative and end-of-life care, particularly goals-of-care discussion, surrogate decision making, and treatment decision making; dementia and long-term care; qualitative research.

Hyejin’s research is focused on improving the quality of care and promoting palliative care for nursing home residents who have lost decision-making capacity, and their surrogates. Her research areas include goals-of-care discussion, surrogate decision making, treatment decision making, dementia care, and long-term care. Her dissertation study focused on Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) discussions between primary care providers and surrogates for individuals with advanced dementia. This study described characteristics of provider-surrogate communication during POLST discussions and surrogates’ experiences of engaging in the discussions. Currently, Hyejin is conducting a study on healthcare decision making for nursing home residents who have lost decision-making capacity but do not have an available surrogate (often called “unbefriended”). 

Carrie Henry, MSN, CNM, RN is a PhD student, with expected graduation in 2021. Her research focuses on improving care for African American families experiencing perinatal loss. She received her BSN from The University of Alabama in 2001 and her MSN from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2005. Her clinical background is in midwifery.

Carolina Gustafson, MSN, ACNP-BC is a current first year PhD student interested in end-of-life and palliative care interventions for young adult patients and their families in critical care settings. Currently she is studying the experiences of young adults with cystic fibrosis with a focus on palliative care and advanced care planning and transitions from pediatric to adult care. She graduated with her MSN from the Yale School of Nursing in 2018 as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner where her masters thesis examined the palliative and end-of-life experiences of Muslim oncology patients. Her undergraduate degree was in Science, Technology, and Society with a focus on gender and science. She wrote her senior thesis on the gendered history of nursing through the lens of the development of hospice in America as a nurse-led movement.

Interdisciplinary Group for Integrative Scholarship in Palliative Care

The Center aims to serve as a catalyst for successful and optimized interdisciplinary collaboration in palliative education, practice, and research. To promote interdisciplinary scholarship, the interdisciplinary group for integrative scholarship in palliative care brings palliative educators, practitioners, and researchers from multiple disciplines on campus together to promote interdisciplinary scholarship.

Faculty who are interested in joining this group, please contact administrative assistant Dianne Winsett at

Palliative Care Pilot and Dissertation Research Grants

This planned initiative is to fertilize innovation in palliative care research and help accelerate development of palliative care research programs for junior investigators and student researchers.

Palliative Care Annual Conferences

The Center hosts an annual palliative care conference that brings researchers and scholars together to present new evidence in palliative and end-of-life care and stimulate ideas to improve palliative and end-of-life care.