Research is focused on two priority areas:
1) Ethical, psycho-social and spiritual issues
- Wish to die and will to live
- Medical and existential decisions
- Roles and rights of relatives
2) Health systems, training and communication
- Continuity of care
- Professional communication
- Training and skill development
These two axes were chosen because they encompass complex issues with many dimensions: physical, psychological, spiritual, social and ethical.
Exploring these two axes helps to ensure the overall coherence of the health system and the care of the patients concerned. This research is primarily situated outside of the hospital i.e. at home or in a nursing home as this is where the majority of people are.
At the junction of these two axes, Advance Care Planning is field of research in which much of this effort is currently being directed.
Aimed at people suffering from chronic or degenerative diseases, Advance Care Planning aims to promote patient autonomy and improve the quality of his or her care. This process involves reflection on one’s values and preferences and defining goals of care in the event that the person is unable to express their wishes. This process is guided by a specifically trained health professional.
This process is well developed in Australia, North America, Germany and Switzerland, particularly in the canton of Zurich. The Chair is adapting it for French-speaking Switzerland. It has thus initiated three research projects that offer people with cognitive disorders and their families specialised support.