Our Research

We work to help improve care for patients and their families.

The Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo research team was established to better understand – and educate – professionals and communities about the effects of palliative and hospice care. Our ongoing projects range from person-centered studies to programmatic studies, which both directly translate into better hospice care and tangible quality-of-life improvements for our patients.

Our research interests include end of life experiences, delirium and other psychosocial interventions that seek to improve the quality of life of the hospice and palliative care population. Among other areas, this work has received international attention through Netflix and public television, as well as featured appearances in TEDx and End Well from our CEO and CMO, Dr. Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD.

We are proud to collaborate in this research with clinicians and academics across the nation, and also partner with local community providers to garner additional insights.

Dr. Kerr, together with his research team, has spent years researching the impact of end-of-life experiences (ELEs) on hospice patients and their families. Findings continue to provide us with powerful insights about the dying process. Our exploration of the nature and impacts of these experiences has also informed the way we directly provide our services, helping to bring dignity and comfort to the dying process for our patients and their caregivers.

Our Publications


Tenzek, KE, Grant, PC, Depner, RM, Levy, K, & Byrwa, DJ. Clinician communication in hospice: Constructions of reality throughout the end-of-life process. (2022). Omega-Journal of Death & Dying. https://doi.org/10.1177/00302228221116719 

Latuga, NM, Grant, PC, Levy, K, & Luczkiewicz, DL. Treatment of positive urine cultures at end-of-life and the effect on terminal delirium management. (2022). American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 39(3), 1014-1022. https://doi.org/10.1177/10499091211057848 

*Awarded the Renee Holder Literature Award by Society of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacist 


Latuga, NM, Grant, PC, Levy, K, & Luczkiewicz, DL. Author reply to comment on “Treatment of positive urine cultures at end-of-life and the effect on terminal delirium management.” (2023). The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1177/10499091231152443 

Grant, PC, Levy, K, Rossi, JL, & Lattimer, TA. End-of-life dreams and visions: Initial guidelines and recommendations to support dreams and visions at the end of life. (2023). Journal of Palliative Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2022.0419 

Why Dying People Often Experience a Burst of Lucidity
Long the fixation of religions, philosophy and literature the world over, the conscious experience of dying has recently received increasingly significant attention from science. This comes as medical advances extend the ability to keep the body alive, steadily prying open a window into the ultimate locked room: the last living moments of a human mind. https://apple.news/ALJn9josYQZ2oTaX_kO0JuQ

Pei C. Grant, PhD,1,2 Kathryn Levy, MSW, AdvStat,2,3 Jonathan L. Rossi, MA,4 and Christopher W. Kerr, MD, PhD2
Role of Post-Traumatic Growth
in Bereavement Outcomes:
An Inquiry of Family Caregivers in Hospice
Journal of Palliative MedicineRead Here


Natalie M. Latuga, Debra L. Luczkiewicz, Pei C. Grant, Kathryn Levy, Eric Hansen & Christopher W. Kerr (2021): Single Subcutaneous Ketamine Dose Followed by Oral Ketamine for Depression Symptoms in Hospice Patients: A Case Series, Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, DOI: 10.1080/15360288.2021.1883182


Levy K, Grant PC, Clem K, Eadie DS, Rossi JL. Holding onto Hurt: The Prevalence of Interpersonal Hurt and Need for Forgiveness-Focused Solutions for Hospice Family Caregivers. Journal of Palliative Medicine. December 2020. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2020.0521

Depner RM, Cook-Cottone CP, Kim S. Structural Relationship Between Mindful Self-care, Meaning Made, and Palliative Worker’s Quality of Life. International Journal of Stress Management. September 2020. https://doi.org/10.1037/str0000209

Grant PC, Levy K, Lattimer TA, Depner RM, Kerr CW. Attitudes and Perceptions of End-of-Life Dreams and Visions and Their Implication to the Bereaved Family Caregiver Experience. Am J Hosp Palliat Med. August 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909120952318

Depner RM, Grant PC, Byrwa DJ, LaFever SM, Kerr CW, Tenzek KE, LaValley S, Luczkiewicz DL, Wright ST, Levy K. Expanding the Understanding of Content of End-of-Life Dreams and Visions: A Consensual Qualitative Research Analysis. Palliat Med Reports. 2020;1(1):103-110. https://doi.org/10.1089/pmr.2020.0037

Levy K, Grant PC, Depner RM, Tenzek KE, Beaupin LK, Pailler ME, Brewer-Spritzer E. The Photographs of Meaning Program for Pediatric Palliative Caregivers and Its Impact on Meaning, Well-Being, and Perceived Social Support. Palliat Med Reports. 2020;1(1):84-91. https://doi.org/10.1089/pmr.2020.0046

Levy K, Grant PC, Kerr CW, Byrwa DJ, Depner RM. Hospice Patient Care Goals and Medical Students’ Perceptions: Evidence of a Generation Gap? Am J Hosp Palliat Med. June 2020:1049909120934737. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909120934737

Al Yacoub R, Luczkiewicz DL, Kerr CW. Acute kidney injury and hepatitis associated with energy drink consumption: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2020;14(1):23. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13256-019-2340-0

Pailler ME, Beaupin LK, Brewer-Spritzer E, Grant PC, Depner RM, Levy K, Tenzek KE. Reaching Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients Through Social Media: Impact of the Photographs of Meaning Program. J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. April 2020. https://doi.org/10.1089/jayao.2019.0140

Levy K, Grant PC, Depner RM, Byrwa DJ, Luczkiewicz DL, Kerr CW. End-of-Life Dreams and Visions and Posttraumatic Growth: A Comparison Study. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2020 23:3, 319-324. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2019.0269

Levy K, Grant PC, Kerr CW. End-of-Life Dreams and Visions in Pediatric Patients: A Case Study. J Palliat Med. January 2020. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2019.0547

Levy K. Use of Core Bereavement Items in Adults Age 50 and Older: A Psychometric Evaluation. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. 2020: 37(7): 527-531. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909119888181

Grant PC, Depner RM, Levy K, LaFever SM, Tenzek KE, Wright ST, Kerr CW. Family Caregiver Perspectives on End-of-Life Dreams and Visions during Bereavement: A Mixed Methods Approach. J Palliat Med. 2020;23(1);48-53. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2019.0093


Mupamombe CT, Luczkiewicz DL, Kerr CW. Dexmedetomidine as an Option for Opioid Refractory Pain in the Hospice Setting. J Palliat Med. 2019;22(11);1478-1481. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2019.0035

Levy K, Grant PC, Depner RM, Tenzek KE, Pailler ME, Beaupin LK, Breier JM, Byrwa DJ. The Photographs of Meaning Program for Pediatric Palliative Caregivers: Feasibility of a Novel Meaning-Making Intervention. Am J Hosp Palliat Med. 2019;36(1):557-563. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909118824560

Beaupin LK, Pailler ME, Brewer-Spritzer E, Kishel E, Grant PC, Depner RM, Tenzek KE, Breier JM Photographs of meaning: A novel social media intervention for adolescent and young adult cancer patients. Psychooncology. 2019;28(1):198-200. https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.4896


Latuga NM, Gordon M, Farwell P, Farrell MO. A Cost and Quality Analysis of Utilizing a Rectal Catheter for Medication Administration in End-of-Life Symptom Management. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. December 2018;32(2-3): 63-70 https://doi.org/10.1080/15360288.2018.1500509

Depner RM, Grant PC, Byrwa DJ, Breier JM, Lodi-Smith J, Luczkiewicz DL, Kerr CW. “People don’t understand what goes on in here”: A consensual qualitative research analysis of inmate-caregiver perspectives on prison-based end-of-life care. Palliat Med. 2018;32(5):1-12. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216318755624


Wright ST, Breier JM, Depner RM, Grant PC, Lodi-Smith J. Wisdom at the end of life: Hospice patients: Reflections on the meaning of life and death. Couns Psychol Q. 2017:162-185. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515070.2016.1274253

Breier JM, Meier ST, Kerr CW, Wright ST, Grant PC, Depner RM. Screening for Delirium: Development and Validation of the Buffalo Delirium Scale for Use in a Home-Based Hospice Setting. Am J Hosp Palliat Med. 2017;35(5):794-798. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909117739386

Depner RM, Grant PC, Byrwa DJ, Breier JM, Lodi-Smith J, Kerr CW, Luczkiewicz DL. A consensual qualitative research analysis of the experience of inmate hospice caregivers: Posttraumatic growth while incarcerated. Death Stud. 2017;41(4):199-210. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2016.1237591

Mroz EL, Poulin MJ, Grant PC, Depner RM, Breier JM, Byrwa DJ, Wright ST. Caregiver Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Patient Relationship Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study. J Palliat Med. 2017;21(3):376-379. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2017.0231

Tenzek KE, Depner R. Still Searching: A Meta-Synthesis of a Good Death from the Bereaved Family Member Perspective. Keeley MP, ed. Behav Sci (Basel). 2017;7(2):25. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7020025


O’Connor TL, Ngamphaiboon N, Groman A, Luczkiewicz DL, Kuszczak SM, Grant PC, Kerr CW. Hospice Utilization and End-of-Life Care in Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. J Palliat Med. 2015;18(1):50-55. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2014.0238

Wright ST, Grant PC, Depner RM, Donnelly JP, Kerr CW. Meaning-centered dream work with hospice patients: A pilot study. Palliat Support Care. 2015;13(5):1193-1211. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1478951514001072

Nosek CL, Kerr CW, Woodworth J, Wright ST, Grant PC, Kuszczak SM, Banas A, Luczkiewicz DL. End-of-Life Dreams and Visions: A Qualitative Perspective From Hospice Patients. Am J Hosp Palliat Med. 2015;32(3):269-274. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909113517291


Lachaal C. Celebrating Life Stories through Music. J Palliat Med. 2014;17(12):1408-1409. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2014.9394

Kerr CW, Donohue KA, Tangeman JC, Serehali AM, Knodel SM, Grant PC, Luczkiewicz DL, Mylotte K, Marien MJ. Cost Savings and Enhanced Hospice Enrollment with a Home-Based Palliative Care Program Implemented as a Hospice–Private Payer Partnership. J Palliat Med. 2014;17(12):1328-1335. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2014.0184

Marabella S. Camp Blue Skies: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Hope. J Palliat Med. 2014;17(6):638. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2014.0050

Tangeman JC, Rudra CB, Kerr CW, Grant PC. A Hospice-Hospital Partnership: Reducing Hospitalization Costs and 30-Day Readmissions among Seriously Ill Adults. J Palliat Med. 2014;17(9):1005-1010. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2013.0612

DiPizio A. Celebrating Life at the End of Life: The Birthday Brigade. J Palliat Med. 2014;17(3):361-362. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2013.0350

Kerr CW, Donnelly JP, Wright ST, Kuszczak SM, Banas A, Grant PC, Luczkiewicz DL. End-of-Life Dreams and Visions: A Longitudinal Study of Hospice Patients’ Experiences. J Palliat Med. 2014;17(3):296-303. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2013.0371

Wright ST, Kerr CW, Doroszczuk NM, Kuszczak SM, Hang PC, Luczkiewicz DL. The Impact of Dreams of the Deceased on Bereavement: A Survey of Hospice Caregivers. Am J Hosp Palliat Med. 2014;31(2):132-138. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909113479201

Kerr CW, Luczkiewicz DL, Holahan T, Milch R, Hang PC. The Use of Pentobarbital in Cases of Severe Delirium: A Case Series. Am J Hosp Palliat Med. 2014;31(2):132-138. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909112474111

Kerr CW, Tangeman JC, Rudra CB, Grant PC, Luczkiewicz DL, Mylotte KM, Riemer WD, Marien MJ, Serehali AM. Clinical impact of a home-based palliative care program: A hospice-private payer partnership. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2014;48(5):883-892. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2014.02.003


Kerr CW, Donnelly JP, Wright ST, Luczkiewicz DL, McKenzie KJ, Hang PC, Kuszczak SM. Progression of Delirium in Advanced Illness: A Multivariate Model of Caregiver and Clinician Perspectives. J Palliat Med. 2013;16(7):768-773. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2012.0561

Szarpa KL, Kerr CW, Wright ST, Luczkiewicz DL, Hang PC, Ball LS. The prodrome to delirium: A grounded theory study. J Hosp Palliat Nurs. 2013;15(6):332-337. https://doi.org/10.1097/NJH.0b013e31828fdf56


Kerr CW, Drake JD, Milch RA, Brazeau DA, Skretny JA, Brazeau GA, Donnelly JP. Effects of methylphenidate on fatigue and depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Pain Symptom Manag. 2012;43(1):68-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.03.026

Waldrop DP, Meeker MA, Kerr CW, Skretny J, Tangeman J, Milch R. The nature and timing of family-provider communication in late-stage cancer: A qualitative study of caregivers’ experiences. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2012;43(2):182-194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.04.017


Kerr CW, Holahan T, Milch R. The use of ketamine in severe cases of refractory pain syndromes in the palliative care setting: A case series. J Palliat Med. 2011;14(9):1074-1077. https://doi.org/10.1089/jpm.2010.0424

Collaborations and Partnerships

We are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with researchers from diverse disciplines. We believe that research teams should not be isolated as independent silos, but should instead work together to generate high impact research. We have had collaborations with various departments at the University at Buffalo, Daemen College, Canisius College, and community providers. If you’re interested, please email research@palliativecare.org.