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acute care, basic palliative care, hospital, nursing, palliative care



  1. Neiman, Tammy PhD, RN


As the population of chronically ill, older adults increases, there is a growing need for palliative care. The Institute of Medicine recommends that health care providers have a basic competency in palliative care. However, the definition of basic palliative care in practice and providers' understanding of basic palliative care lack clarity. The purpose of this study was to describe nurses' perceptions of basic palliative care in the acute care setting. This was accomplished by conducting focus group and individual interviews. The major themes of helping families navigate chronic illness and empowering families and subthemes of being present, giving options, and advocating emerged from the analysis. Through education and role modeling, nurses helped families navigate illness and end-of-life experiences. Study findings describe acute care nurses' perceptions of basic palliative care and may help to identify the educational needs of nurses in order to provide basic palliative care for patients and their families in acute care settings.