Margaret Campbell

Faculty Profile

Program of Research title

Dyspnea Assessment and Treatment at the End of Life

Destination Statement

My research is focused on assessment and treatment of dyspnea, or respiratory distress, in terminally ill patients. Dyspnea is one of the worst symptoms dying patients may experience. I am committed to easing this burdensome symptom.



Populations of interests

  • Adults
  • Terminally ill
  • Near death
  • Cognitively impaired

Program of Research

Margaret L. Campbell Ph.D., RN, FPCN has focused her research on assessing and treating dyspnea among patients nearing the end of life across clinical settings including the ICU, acute care settings, and home hospice. She developed the Respiratory Distress Observation Scale, the only known instrument to assess respiratory distress when the patient cannot self-report dyspnea. This clinical and research tool is in wide clinical use in more than 50 US sites and 11 countries and has been translated into Dutch, French, Chinese, Italian, Greek, and Tamil (India).

Dr. Campbell is a recognized leader and scholar in care at the end of life. She is widely published on the topics of dyspnea assessment and treatment.

Office Address

344 Cohn, 5557 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48202



Office Hours

 By appointment

Bio Sketch

Dr. Campbell's career began in adult critical care as a staff nurse and promotion to educator. After graduate school, she transitioned to a new field of practice as an acute care nurse practitioner in palliative care. Recognizing the many gaps in evidence, she began producing prospective descriptive correlational studies that led her to PhD completion. Since graduation, Dr. Campbell has focused her research on assessment and treatment of dyspnea among adult patients who are approaching the end of life.


  • PhD, University of Michigan, 2006
  • MSN, Wayne State University, 1986
  • BSN, Wayne State University, 1982
  • Diploma, Henry Ford Hospital, School of Nursing, 1974

Selected Publications

  • Campbell ML, Bizek KS, Thill M. Patient responses during rapid terminal weaning from mechanical ventilation: a prospective study. Critical Care Medicine. 1999;27(1):73-77.
  • Campbell ML. How to withdraw mechanical ventilation: a systematic review of the literature. AACN Advanced Critical Care. 2007;18(4):397-403; quiz 344-395.
  • Campbell ML. Fear and pulmonary stress behaviors to an asphyxial threat across cognitive states. Res Nurs Health. 2007;30(6):572-583.
  • Campbell ML. Psychometric testing of a respiratory distress observation scale. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2008;11(1):44-50.
  • Campbell ML, Templin T, Walch J. A Respiratory Distress Observation Scale for patients unable to self-report dyspnea. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2010;13(3):285-290.
  • Campbell ML, Yarandi H, Dove-Medows E. Oxygen is nonbeneficial for most patients who are near death. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2013;45(3):517-523.
  • Campbell ML, Yarandi HN. Death rattle is not associated with patient respiratory distress: is pharmacologic treatment indicated? Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2013;16(10):1255-1259.
  • Campbell ML, Yarandi HN, Mendez M. A Two-Group Trial of a Terminal Ventilator Withdrawal Algorithm: Pilot Testing. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2015;18(9):781-785.
  • Campbell ML, Templin TN. Intensity cut-points for the Respiratory Distress Observation Scale. Palliative Medicine. 2015;29(5):436-442.
  • Campbell ML, Kero KK, Templin TN. Mild, moderate, and severe intensity cut-points for the Respiratory Distress Observation Scale. Heart Lung. 2017;46(1):14-17.
  • Campbell ML, Kiernan JM, Strandmark J, Yarandi HN. Trajectory of Dyspnea and Respiratory Distress among Patients in the Last Month of Life. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2018;21(2):194-199.

Research Description


Rater reliability and intensity cutpoints of the respiratory distress observation scale. (NINR funding)
A two-group trial of a terminal ventilator withdrawal algorithm: pilot testing (AACN funding)
Safety and efficacy of topical morphine on wound pain: pilot testing (Ada Jacox WSU CON funding)

Affiliated Departments