Gail L. Towsley, PhD, NHA portrait
  • Professor, College Of Nursing
  • Assistant Professor, College Of Nursing
801-585-9085

Research Statement

My research focuses on non-pharmacological research that advances scientific knowledge about care delivery, particularly palliative and end-of-life care for residents living with dementia and their informal caregivers in order to provide person-centered care, in long-term service and support settings (e.g., nursing homes, assisted living, home health and hospice). My research has centered on leading the development and testing of Me & My Wishes--personalized video recorded conversations with nursing home residents that communicates residents’ preferences for everyday and end of life. Videos are shared with family and staff, and CONTACT (CONversaTion cAre Coaching Tool)--a personalized, online tool to empower care partners to advocate for the resident with dementia, communicate care preferences or make decisions with the resident, other family members, or care team. My expertise includes aging/gerontology, nursing home administration, and conducting research in long-term service and support settings including the use of mixed methods and developing interventions.

Research Keywords

  • Palliative Care
  • Long-term care
  • Gerontology
  • Communication at the End of Life
  • Alzheimer's and Related Dementias
  • Aging

Presentations

  • *#&Neller, S. A., Cloyes, K. G., Edelman, L. S., Wong, B., & Towsley, G. L. Examining the Process of Community-Dwelling Older Adults Creating a Legacy of Values [Podium presentation]. Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/2022.
  • Symposium Co-Chair: Gail Towsley: Ensuring a Knowledgeable Geriatric Workforce: Interdisciplinary Education in Long Term Services and Supports: Towsley GL, Elrod, L, Cox, N, Varela, A, Edelman L. Developing an Interprofessional Graduate Certificate in Long-Term Services and Supports, Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/2022.
  • *#&Neller, S. A., Cloyes, K.G., Edelman, L. S., Wong, B., Baines, B., & Towsley, G. L. Toward Validating the Outcomes of Creating a Legacy of Values: Survey Development through the Interim Phase of an Exploratory Sequential Mixed Methods Study. [Paper presentation]. Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference. Presentation, Presented, 08/2022.
  • Towsley, G.L., Agutter, J., Tsai, A., Archer J., Sovereen, S., Hanrahan, M. Using Stories to Integrate Gerontology Content Into an Introductory Design (Architecture) Course. Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/12/2020.
  • Neller, S.A., Towsley, G.L. & Wong, B.G. (2020). Me & My Wishes Videos: Congruence of End-of-life Preferences between Residents with Dementia Family and Staff as part of the Symposium Palliative Care of Dementia and Family Caregiver Involvement. Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/11/2020.
  • Wan, Dassel, Edelman, Towsley et al. Interactions Between Life-Space and Quality of Life in Spousal Dyads Coping with Chronic Conditions. Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. Poster, Presented, 11/2016.
  • Poster Presenter: Me & My Wishes: Prototyping Long Term Care Resident Videos to Communicate Care Preferences (with L Ellington, S Beck, & B Wong). Gerontological Society of America 67th Annual Scientific Meeting. Poster, Presented, 11/2014.
  • Poster Presenter: Integrating new nursing home quality provisions (with KS Sward, J Kehinde, C Madden, & J Guo). Academy Health Annual Research Meeting. Poster, Presented, 06/2014.
  • Qualitative Methods: Everything you wanted to know but were unsure whom to ask (Symposium with S. Kagan, S. Lysaght, Kamela Anderson). Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association. Panel, Presented, 01/2013.
  • Examining the Use of the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia as a Proxy Measure of Depression (G. Towsley, L. Snow, M. Ersek) Gerontological Society of America 64th Annual Scientific Meeting . Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/2011.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • Me & My Wishes: Prototyping Long Term Care Resident Videos to Communicate Care Preferences, University of Utah College of Nursing. PI: Towsley GL. Co-PI(s): Ellington, L., Beck, SL., Wong, B. University of Utah College of Nursing, 05/2013 - 05/2015. Total project budget to date: $4,652.00
  • Older Adults and Their Perspective on Chronic Conditions. PI: Gail Towsley. Co-PI(s): Salimah Meghani, University of Pennsylvania. University of Pennsylvania NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health, 07/01/2011 - 06/30/2013. Total project budget to date: $10,000.00

Research/Scholarship Projects

  • Conversations About End Of Life. PI: Gail Towsley. 10/2009 - 12/31/2012.

Languages

  • English, fluent.

Publications

  • Neller SA & McFarland MM (2023). Leaving a lasting legacy: A scoping review of ethical wills. Palliative & supportive care. Vol. 21, 127145127-145. Published, 02/01/2023.
  • Towsley GL & Neller S (2022). Me & My Wishes: Concordance of End-of-Life Preferences between Residents with Dementia, Family, and Staff. Journal of palliative medicine. Vol. 25, 880887880-887. Published, 06/01/2022.
  • Farrell TW, Towsley GL, Eaton J & Butler JM (2022). The Development and Validation of a Communication Survey Instrument for Long-term Care Staff. Journal of continuing education in nursing. Vol. 53, 123130123-130. Published, 03/01/2022.
  • Farrell TW, Towsley GL, Eaton J & Butler JM (2022). The Development and Validation of a Communication Survey Instrument for Long-term Care Staff. Journal of continuing education in nursing. Vol. 53, 123-130. Published, 03/01/2022.
  • Tay DL & Ellington L (2021). Emotional expression in conversations about advance care planning among older adult home health patients and their caregivers. Patient education and counseling. Vol. 104, 2232-2239. Published, 08/01/2021.
  • Towsley GL & Wong B (2021). An Efficacy Trial of Long-Term Care Residents With Alzheimer's Disease Using Videos to Communicate Care Preferences. (pp. 1559-1560). Vol. 22. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Published, 08/01/2021.
  • Clayton MF, Utz R, Iacob E & Towsley GL (2021). Live hospice discharge: Experiences of families, and hospice staff. Patient education and counseling. Vol. 104, 2054-2059. Published, 06/01/2021.
  • Edelman LS, Drost J, Moone RP, Owens K, Towsley GL, Tucker-Roghi G & Morley JE (2021). Editorial: Applying the Age-Friendly Health System Framework to Long Term Care Settings. The journal of nutrition, health & aging. Vol. 25, 141-145. Published, 01/01/2021.
  • Tay DL, Ellington L, Towsley GL, Supiano K & Berg CA (2020). Evaluation of a Collaborative Advance Care Planning Intervention among Older Adult Home Health Patients and Their Caregivers. Journal of palliative medicine. Vol. 23, 1214-1222. Published, 09/01/2020.
  • Towsley GL, Wong B, Mokhtari T, Hull W & Miller SC (2020). Piloting Me and My Wishes-Videos of Nursing Home Residents' Preferences. Journal of pain and symptom management. Vol. 59, 609-617. Published, 06/01/2020.
  • Dassel KB, Flattes V, Eaton J, Towsley G, Moyers L & Edelman L (2020). Development of a Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care. Journal of gerontological nursing. Vol. 45, 47-52. Published, 02/01/2020.
  • Gustavson AM, Drake C, Lakin A, Daddato AE, Falvey JR, Capell W, Lum HD, Jones CD, Unroe KT, Towsley GL, Stevens-Lapsley JE, Levy CR, Boxer RS & (2020). Conducting Clinical Research in Post-acute and Long-term Nursing Home Care Settings: Regulatory Challenges. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Vol. 20, 798-803. Published, 02/01/2020.
  • Towsley GL, Wong B, Mokhtari T, Hull W & Miller SC (2020). Piloting Me and My Wishes-Videos of Nursing Home Residents' Preferences. Journal of pain and symptom management. Vol. 59, 609-617. Published, 02/01/2020.
  • GL Towsley & KB Hirschman (2017). Talking about end-of-life care: Perspectives of nursing home residents. Geriatric Nursing. Accepted, 07/01/2017.
  • Beck, SL, Brant, J, Donahue, R., Smith E., Towsley, GL., Berry, P., Guo, J., Al-Qaaydeh, S., Pett, M., & Donaldson, G. (2016) Oncology Nursing Certification: Relation to Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes about Pain, Patient-Reported Pain Care Quality and Pain Outcomes. Oncology Nursing Forum, 43, 67-76. Published, 01/2016.
  • Curyto, K., VanHaitsma, K., & Towsley, GL. (2016). Assessing resident preferences in the nursing home: Understanding Meaning and Language through Cognitive Interviewing. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 9, 24-34. epub ahead of print May 2015. Published, 01/2016.
  • Towsley, G.L., Hirschman, K., & Madden, C. (2015). Conversations about end of life: Perspectives of nursing home residents, family, and staff. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 18, 421-428. Featured article. Published, 05/2015.
  • VanHaitsma, K., Curyto, K., Abbott, K., Towsley, G.L., Spector, A., & Klebaum, M. (2015). A randomized controlled trial for an individualized position psychological intervention for the affective and behavioral symptoms of dementia in nursing home residents. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 70, 35-45.. Published, 01/2015.
  • Van Haitsma, K, Curyto, K, Spector, A., Towsley, G., Kleban, M, Carpenter, B, Ruckdeschel,K, Feldman PH, & Koren, M. (2013) The Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory: Scale Development and Description of Psychosocial Preferences Responses in Community-Dwelling Elders. The Gerontologist, 53, 582-95. Published, 08/2013.
  • Pett, MA, Guo, JW, Beck, SL, Towsley, G.L., Brant, JM, Berry, PH, Smith, EL, Donaldson, G. (2013) Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Pain Care Quality Survey (PainCQ©) Health Services Research, 48,1018-38. Published, 06/2013.
  • Beck, S., Weiss, M., Ryan-Wendger, N., Donaldson, N.E., Aydin, C., Towsley, G.L., & Gardner, William. (2013). Measuring Nurses' Impact on Health Care Quality: Progress, Challenges and Future Directions. Medical Care, 51, S15-22. . Accepted, 04/2013.
  • Towsley, G.L., Beck, S.L., & Pepper, G.A. (2013). Predictors of quality in rural nursing homes using standard and novel methods. Research in Gerontological Nursing. Epub ahead of print.. Published, 01/2013.
  • Towsley, G., Neradilek, M., Snow, A.L., & Ersek, M. (2012). Evaluating the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia as a Proxy Measure in Nursing Home Residents With and Without Dementia. Aging and Mental Health, 16, 892-901. Published, 04/2012.
  • Towsley, G.L., Beck, S.L., Dudley, W.N. & Pepper, G.A. (2011). Staffing levels in rural nursing homes: A mixed methods approach. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 4, 207-20. Published, 07/04/2011.
  • Beck, S.L , Towsley, G.L., Pett, M.A., Berry, P., Smith, E., Brant, J., & Guo, J. (2010). Initial Psychometric Properties of the Pain Care Quality Survey (PainCQ). Journal of Pain, 11, 1311-9. Published, 12/2010.
  • Beck, S.L , Towsley, G.L. Berry, P., Brant, J., & Smith, E. (2010). Measuring the Quality of Care related to Pain Management: A Multiple Method Approach to Instrument Development. Nursing Research. 59, 85-92. Published, 03/2010.
  • Symptom Experiences and Quality of Life of Rural and Urban Older Adult Cancer Survivors. Cancer Nursing, 32, 359-69. Published, 10/2009.