Manitoba Research Chair in Caregiver Communication

Dr. Michelle Lobchuk has been awarded a Manitoba Research Chair in the area of Caregiver Communication from the Manitoba Health Research Council (MHRC) from 07/2011 to 06/2016.  Dr. Lobchuk’s program of research is in line with growing attention to patient-centered care which involves empathic processes by families, friends, and health care professionals who respond to patient suffering.  Over the next five years, Dr. Lobchuk’s theory-based research program is to develop an effective clinical intervention based on the integration of her findings from three areas of inter-related studies:

  1. A careful description of ‘which’ and ‘when’ family caregivers experience difficulties in assessing symptom experiences along the illness journey;
  2. An understanding of essential elements of work environments, attitudes, and skills that support clinicians who interact with and ‘coach’ caregivers in empathic communication; and,
  3. Develop a video feedback technique for prototype development and experimental testing with clinicians and caregiving family who are challenged in their sensitive understanding of patient illness experiences.

This applied research will alter how clinicians intervene to reduce decisional conflicts, optimize safe symptom management, and build confidence in our family caregivers. Dr. Lobchuk’s plan is to develop standardized training materials, a web-based tutorial, and evidence for best practices of clinicians in their empathic support of family caregivers and patients.