PhD candidate Tieghan Killackey awarded grant through Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research

11 October 2017

Bloomberg Nursing PhD candidate Tieghan Killackey has been awarded a grant through the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research Education Fund in support of her project, “Improving advance care planning in heart failure management: Developing a relational model of the patient and family experience.”

Heart failure is a chronic and terminal illness, which is characterized by an unpredictable trajectory and poor survival rates. Because of this, advance care planning (ACP) is recommended to take place early and often for heart failure patients, as it helps patients to discuss their values and preferences for future care and ensures that any treatment they receive is congruent with these values.  ACP has been associated with increased quality of life, fewer acute care admissions, lower rates of depression and anxiety and increased patient and family satisfaction with care. Currently the majority of heart failure patients do not participate in advance care planning, despite educational interventions and clinical guideline recommendations. Tieghan’s study will develop a relational autonomy model of autonomy in ACP by exploring the experiences of heart failure patients, family members and healthcare providers. The results of this study will help to identify root causes that account for low rates of advance care planning engagement and will identify important areas for future intervention and research.

A graduate of the Masters of Nursing Program at Bloomberg Nursing with a Collaborative Specialization in Bioethics through the Joint Centre for Bioethics, Tieghan is currently in the third year of the doctoral program. This project supports collaboration between University of Toronto and University Health Network, as Tieghan is supervised by Professor Elizabeth Peter  of Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and is also a research trainee with Jane MacIver, the Ted Rogers Nursing Professor in Cardiovascular Research. As a registered nurse with the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at Toronto General Hospital, Tieghan is passionate about nursing ethics and the complex challenges faced by the cardiovascular patient population. Overall, she is interested in how bioethics can illuminate a deeper understanding of the perspectives of the patients and families she works with in order to improve their experiences living with heart failure.

Intended to attract the world’s brightest doctoral trainees and clinical research fellows, the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research Education Fund aims to foster a deep pool of talent and further leadership in cardiovascular research and innovations in health care. The Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research was created through a $130-million donation from the Rogers family – the largest monetary gift ever to a Canadian health-care initiative. To learn more about the TRCHR visit their website.