Palliative care education, nursing homes, nurse practitioners, skilled nursing facility



  1. Carpenter, Joan G. PhD, CRNP (Assistant Professor)


ABSTRACT: Current palliative care workforce projections indicate that the growing palliative care needs of older adults in US nursing homes cannot be met by specialists, leaving them vulnerable and at risk for poor end-of-life outcomes. The purpose of this article is to describe the development, implementation, and initial evaluation of a program to support primary care nursing home nurse practitioners (NPs) in palliative care. The program aimed to improve geriatric NPs' knowledge and skills related to palliative care and to provide a structured protocol for integrating palliative care encounters into NPs' practice. It comprised three phases consisting of asynchronous online learning modules, a 1-day face-to-face communication skills and patient simulation workshop, and ongoing monthly virtual meetings to support NP clinical practice. Over a 1-year period, the program was developed and implemented with 12 practicing NPs in a national organization. Through an online survey and face-to-face feedback, NPs reported satisfaction with the curriculum and expressed it as valuable to their clinical practice. Future work will focus on sustaining implementation of the program, measuring patient level outcomes, and refining the curriculum based on NP feedback.