Palliative Care Comics: Designing a Person-Centered Patient Education Tool


AbstractPalliative care can improve quality of life in patients facing life-threatening illnesses by addressing their physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs. Research has shown that palliative care initiated early in the disease trajectory improves patients' mood, quality of life, and even survival. Nevertheless, timely referral and willingness to initiate palliative care are hindered by stigma and the misconception that palliative care is for patients who have exhausted treatment options. Well-designed comics may be useful for addressing complex, stigmatized topics because they are unintimidating, easy to consume, and relatable to readers.


Unsurprisingly, educational comics can teach more effectively than text or verbal instruction. Since palliative care is valued by patients for being a person-centered and patient-led experience, comics may be uniquely suited to educate about this topic by embedding information in the context of an individual patient journey. The comic, currently a work-in-progress, will include a didactic narrative about palliative care and a situational narrative describing the patient experience. Feedback from palliative care patients during the development process will inform visual and narrative design of the comic.


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This Vesalius Trust research poster was presented at the 2019 Association of Medical Illustrators' Annual Meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.




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