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Authors

  1. Watters, Carol L.
  2. Harvey, Carol V.
  3. Meehan, Anita J.
  4. Schoenly, Lorry

Abstract

Patients who face chronic, incurable, or life-ending musculoskeletal conditions often receive inadequate care either due to a lack of caregiver awareness or inattention to maintaining the highest quality at the end of life. Palliative care focuses on the comprehensive physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and existential needs of patients with life-threatening or debilitating illness. Orthopaedic nurses and all nurses in general are challenged to incorporate palliative care principles into care planned with patients and families facing end-of-life issues.

 

This article addresses the leadership role the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) has taken to develop a consensus document which endorses the Last Acts Precepts of Palliative Care and affirms the need for palliative care with patients who experience life-threatening illness. A case study is used to illustrate the opportunity a multidisciplinary team has to center care on the individual, while remaining sensitive to the holistic needs of the patient for self-determination at the end of life.