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Keywords

critical care, education, end of life, palliative care

 

Authors

  1. Ferrell, Betty R. PhD, FAAN
  2. Dahlin, Constance MSN, APRN,BC, PCM
  3. Campbell, Margaret L. PhD, RN, FAAN
  4. Paice, Judith A. PhD, RN, FAAN
  5. Malloy, Pam MN, RN, OCN
  6. Virani, Rose MHA, RNC, OCN

Abstract

The integration of palliative care in critical care settings is essential to improve care of the dying, and critical care nurses are leaders in these efforts. However, lack of education in providing end-of-life (EOL) care is an obstacle to nurses and other healthcare professionals as they strive to deliver palliative care. Education regarding pain and symptom management, communication strategies, care at the end of life, ethics, and other aspects of palliative care are urgently needed. Efforts to increase EOL care education in most undergraduate and graduate nursing curricula are beginning; yet, most critical care nurses have not received formal training in palliative care. Moreover, educational resources such as critical care nursing textbooks often contain inadequate information on palliative care. The ELNEC-Critical Care program provides a comprehensive curriculum that concentrates on the requirements of those nurses who are working in areas of critical care. Extensive support materials include CD-ROM, binder, Web sites, newsletters, textbooks, and other supplemental items. The ultimate goal is to improve EOL care for patients in all critical care settings and enhance the experience of family members witnessing the dying process of their loved ones.