Dr. John Cagle, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) and a member of the FSWI steering committee, along with colleagues from schools throughout UMB and in the UMSSW, received a $75,000 UMB Pilot and Exploratory Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) grant in June 2013 for a two-year study entitled “Development of an Intervention to Minimize Financial Burden at the End of Life.” The purpose of this study is to identify factors that impact financial security of households at the end of life or as patients and families face life-threatening or life-limiting illness, and to develop a pragmatic, easily translatable, and feasible intervention to effectively address and ease that burden. Despite this clear need, such an intervention to address financial needs among families coping with a life-threatening illness has never been done. This research is the first step to address this need.

As part of the study, Dr. Cagle and researchers from the University of Maryland School of Social Work/Financial Social Work Initiative will be interviewing social workers, case managers, administrators, and other health-care professionals on how they assess for and work to ease this burden in clients whom they serve. They seek to better understand how financial stressors are addressed in several types of health care settings—hospice, long-term care, oncology, dialysis, and ICU—along with the goal of developing a workable intervention that can be used to support patients and families at risk for financial burden. At a later stage in the research, one-on-one interviews with patients and families from these settings will take place, and focus groups with social workers and other health-care professionals will also be conducted as the intervention is developed and honed.

For more information about this study or how you might get involved, please contact Dr. Cagle at jcagle@ssw.umaryland.edu or the study coordinator, Dr. Christine Callahan at ccallahan@ssw.umaryland.edu.

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