Palliative and End-of-Life Communication and Support

The goal of this work is to to help patients with life-limiting illnesses talk with their families and providers about what matters most at the end-of-life and to provide support to family members while they are caregiving and during bereavement. Dr. Ashare aims to build on her foundation as a clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist to identify barriers to the implementation of psychological interventions in the context of palliative care, including patients and caregivers. In addition, understanding the dynamic patterns of language that contribute to ‘effective’ serious illness communication among patients, families, and providers is essential to providing support to bereaved families and caregivers.

To this end, Dr. Ashare has developed collaborations with palliative care physicians, nurses, and social workers, and researchers who study coping in serious illness, serious illness communication, and interventions to support caregivers.

Support for Caregivers

Dr. Ashare is a collaborator on a randomized controlled trial evaluating health coaching intervention for caregivers of patients with heart failure led by Dr. Barbara Riegel at the University of Pennsylvania. This study is evaluating whether the intervention, delivered remotely via a tablet, can improve self-care among caregivers.

Dr. Ashare has also published on the impact of caregiving on mental health and the different illness-related concerns prioritized by caregivers compared to patients.

Support for Grief and Loss

Dr. Ashare’s clinical interests are in providing support to individuals experiencing grief and loss. Loss is an unavoidable human experience and can include bereavement as well as ambiguous or nonfinite losses.

This work is grounded in principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and meaning reconstruction.

Grief and Loss Resources

Portland Institute for Loss and Transition


Lessons of Loss: A Guide to Coping 1st Edition

by Robert A. Neimeyer 

How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies Paperback

by Therese A. Rando 

It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand


Refuge in Grief-Megan Devine

Hot Young Widows Club – Nora McInerny

Selected Publications

Levoy K, Wool J, Ashare RL, Rosa WE, Barg FK, Meghani SH: “It’s Rougher on Me than it is on Him”: Family Caregiver-generated and Prioritized Illness Concerns while Patients Undergo Cancer Treatments. JCO Oncology Practice, in press.