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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Death and the Elderly: Caregiving, End-of-Life Issues, Family Challenges Research Paper Flowchart

Health care programs are important, quickly developing and evolving in colleges and universities. Nursing, health care administration, medical coding, nurse practitioners, physician assistant programs, medical billing, urgent care administrators, nursing home administration, and more are growing.

As our health care system changes, and the population ages, it is very important for all health care professionals to understand the inter-relationships between institutions, communities, and families.

Here is an effective flow chart / guide for structuring a research paper on topics dealing with caring for the elderly and end-of-life issues.

1. What is the research problem / social issue? Identify and define clearly.

You may wish to brainstorm and develop bullet points, and even do mind-mapping in order to arrive at a primary thesis / main topic. Here is an example / description of mindmaps and mind mapping:

It is often effective to look at the core primary problem and to find an article that contains a very thorough literature review:

Ethics: Ethical Challenges in the Care of Elderly Persons
Ludwick, R., Silva, M. (December 19, 2003). Ethics Column: "Ethical Challenges in the Care of Elderly Persons". Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol. 9 No. 1. Available:

2. What has been written about the problem in the past? What are the core issues?

It is often good to research and read an array of articles. This is a good opportunity to review articles in a repository.

National Institute of Health: Bioethics Resources
End of Life / Palliative Care

May extend to related issues. In this case, it is useful to look at ethical issues with respect to end-of-life issues, and it has to do with younger individuals
Boy On Life Support Stirs Debate On Faith, End-Of-Life Care

3. What are the facts? What do we know about the extent of the problem? Studies? Govt statistics? Describe.

Hospitals Ordered to Follow End-of-Life Wishes (with podcast)

4. What can we find in the following areas? (scroll down and click on the link to the search function)

also: investigative journalism? look up documentaries / investigative journalism, etc.

5. What have people done to address the issue? What are the various perspectives / solutions? Describe.

Caring for the Elderly and the Disabled Is a Family Affair

What to Do the Next Time Dad's Heart Stops (article, with podcast)

Ethics policies on euthanasia in nursing homes: a survey in Flanders, Belgium.

6. Case studies / examples / the human face...

Can search for examples, and also use statistics

Caregiving in the U.S. 2009

7. Your analysis -- what do the facts tell you? What are things that can be done? What is being tried? Is it working? Is it not? Why not?

This is a good place to list the key concerns and considerations that relate to the primary thesis.

For example, you could discuss the different approaches to health care, including home health care, nursing homes, and evaluate which ones work and which ones do not. You could then start to formulate recommendations.

Another example could be that you discuss new trends and issues with family dynamics, work issues, and financial considerations when it comes to the elderly.

Evaluating different responses to caregiver burnout and the psychological dimensions of having elderly family members could be discussed.

8. Conclusions and recommendations.

Your final paragraph should be substantive and it should have an in-depth discussion. Make sure that you use APA style, since this paper deals with social and psychological topics.

You may find a very helpful bibliography-making software program at ( For APA style questions, check out


APAStyle at

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