Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Goodman

Second Advisor

Dr. Jill Tyler

Third Advisor

Mrs. Timmi Johnson


Hospice Care, Palliative Care, Medication Use, Heath Literacy


In recent years, an expansion of palliative care and hospice care programs has revolutionized how individuals approach death. The philosophies about these programs focus on patient autonomy, dignity, pain management, and improving quality of life, all which could benefit many individuals at the ends of their lives. To increase proper utilization of these programs, there needs to be a focus on increasing health literacy about end of life. Health Literacy is defined by H. Ishikawa and E. Yano as pertaining to the importance of using health information as a resource to allow greater patient participation in managing and making competent decisions in response to health concerns (2008). People at all stages of life need to be informed about their medical choices for better understanding and decision making through the transitions of life, but it is especially important in helping individuals to approach death. This thesis will focus on the central theme of taking full advantage of end of life care through increasing health literacy. To make a meaningful impact on individuals with low health literacy at end of life, this thesis will focus on a precise application: medication use. Pharmaceutical use is notoriously complicated, but has the potential to help illustrate v the philosophies behind the End of Life Care programs and make dramatic improvements on reinforcing patient autonomy. The goal is to increase understanding about the medications prescribed to aging individuals who are enrolled in end of life care programs, which in turn would assist in serving this population in improving health care participation and outcomes. Medication use in aging adults enrolled in end of life care is a practical focus to increase health literacy.



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