|Participating in the roundtable were (from l) Dr. Laurel Northouse of the University of Michigan; Dr. Laura Gitlin of Johns Hopkins University; NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady; ONS president Dr. Mary Gullatte; Dr. Michael Irwin of UCLA; and Dr. Kathleen Knafl of UNC-Chapel Hill.
NINR and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) recently co-hosted the 2014 National Nursing Research Roundtable. Since 1987, the annual event has brought together an interdisciplinary group of clinicians, scientists, educators, scholars and policy leaders from across the country to discuss priorities in science, practice and policy. The focus of this year’s roundtable was “The Science of Caregiving,” an increasingly important subject given the increase in the incidence of chronic illness and aging of the population.
“Managing chronic illness is increasingly shifting from health care providers to individuals, their families and the communities where they live and there is increasing awareness that the responsibilities of caring for family members or friends can have a significant impact on the health of lay caregivers,” said NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady during opening remarks. “This is an area where the nursing community is ideally positioned to design and test caregiver health interventions and translate research findings into clinical and community health practices.”
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Michael Irwin, a professor and researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, who discussed health issues faced by caregivers of persons with dementia. Because many older adult caregivers report sleep disturbances, Irwin also discussed sleep as a modifiable risk factor for fatigue, depression and other health issues. He concluded by recommending future research directions, such as further studies that address the association between sleep disturbance and inflammation that may contribute to cardiovascular disease and increased mortality.
ONS president Dr. Mary Gullatte described current activities at ONS and Grady provided an NINR update, in which she summarized studies focused on caregiving. The scientific presentations also targeted caregiver health.
“Nursing is interlinked with caregiving,” Grady said, noting that caregiving is encompassed by self-management, which is one of NINR’s four scientific areas of emphasis for implementing the institute’s strategic plan. “It is through these research efforts that we may advance caregiver health and thus promote its critical role in supporting the management of chronic conditions.”—Natalie Zeigler