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“Dying in America” Doc Features Penn Nursing Professor

Dying in America is a multimedia documentary project that examines the dying experience through the eyes of nurses.

It features Penn Nursing’s Mary Ersek, PhD, RN, FPCN, Professor of Palliative Care and Director of the Veterans Health Administration PROMISE (Performance Reporting and Outcomes Measurement to Improve the Standard of Care at End-of-life) Center, located at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia, who provides three interviews about her experiences in dealing with end of life issues. Click here to see her videos.

As a whole, the documentary explores the death and dying process with those who navigate its waters daily. The goal of the project is to better prepare ourselves and our loved ones when faced with the difficult decisions that come with the end of life. Dying in America is made possible through the support of the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare.

Ersek has extensive research in palliative care in older adults and in end of life issues for Veterans and their families. Over the last 15 years, her research has focused specifically on residents of nursing homes. Ersek is a core investigator at the Center for Health Equity and Promotion (CHERP), which is one of several VA-funded Centers of Innovation. As a CHERP investigator, she is leading an interdisciplinary group of investigators to develop a valid and reliable measure of pain intensity for persons with advanced dementia. She also collaborates with VA investigators throughout the US to examine the associations among patient characteristics, clinical practices, and outcomes of palliative care.