Introduction

The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) supports clinical and basic research to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and enhance end-of-life and palliative care. The breadth and depth of NINR’s research portfolio is ideally suited to explore some of the most important challenges affecting the health of the American people. An aging population, an increasing incidence of chronic illness, a shortage in the health workforce, and rapidly escalating costs necessitate profound changes in the ways in which we approach health care. The research supported by NINR can significantly contribute to the evidence base for many of the changes that will occur in health care in the coming years and decades.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Health care professionals and policy leaders have stressed the importance of preventive care to the health of all Americans. NINR supports research to discover new ways to prevent disease and achieve long-term, positive health outcomes in individuals across the lifespan. NINR-supported scientists explore strategies to understand and promote behavioral changes in individuals, evaluate health risks in diverse communities, and assess issues of patient safety. In recent years, successful efforts in the areas of health promotion and disease prevention research have increasingly involved community members in the design and conduct of the study.

Self-Management, Symptom Management, and Caregiving

Given the increasing numbers of people living with chronic illness, whether children with diabetes or elders with heart disease, NINR is developing new approaches to help individuals manage their own health conditions, to decrease the effects of adverse symptoms, and to reduce the burden on caregivers. NINR is improving the quality of life of individuals with chronic illness and their families by supporting research related to self-management, symptom management and caregiving.

End-of-Life

Faced with a complexity of life-limiting and eventual terminal conditions–whether cancer, heart disease, stroke, or neurodegenerative disorders–the challenges experienced by patients and their families as life draws to a close have refocused attention to the end of life and necessitated a better understanding of the dying process, the associated decisions about treatment, and the quality of care patients receive. Focusing on these topics, NINR end-of-life research seeks through science to improve the understanding of the mechanisms underlying palliation, including pain, fatigue, depression, and related symptoms; enhances communication and decision-making processes between patients and family members; and, develops effective strategies to optimize care across diverse settings, populations, and cultural contexts.

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To view the complete NINR Budget Request for FY 2010, please click here.