I recently attended a conference sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AANC) and the End-of-life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC).
AACN embedded a Palliative Care Conference Day at the University of San Diego in their Doctoral Education Conference in Jan, 2017. I had the pleasure of revisiting my Alma Mater (USD) and AACN provided discounted rates and busing to the Hotel del Coronado.
The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) project is a national education initiative to improve palliative care. The project provides undergraduate and graduate nursing faculty, and other nurses with training in palliative care so they can teach this essential information to nursing students and practicing nurses. The project, which began in February 2000, was initially funded by a major grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). I attended the first Critical Care ELNEC Certification Training in 2006.
Key speakers at the conference were Pamela Malloy, RN, MD, FPCN, ELNEC, Project Director and Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN, Professor and Director at the Department of Nursing Research and Education at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, CA.
WHAT IS PALLIATIVE CARE?
Palliative care can be thought of as a bridge between curative care and hospice care. It is a time when perhaps healing, but not necessarily curing can take place. The word Palliative means to improve the quality of something. Hospital-Based Palliative Care (HBPC) is a continually evolving national imperative. Seventy percent of Americans die from complications of a chronic illness and 60% of deaths in the US occur in hospitals despite 80% of Americans stating they would prefer to die at home.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVES NEED COMPLEMENTARY DIALOGUING
“Absence of a living dialogue weakens the written word” (author unknown)
Only approximately 25% of Americans have Advanced Directives (AD), stating their end-of-life care wishes in writing. Studies show that there are significant obstacles in ADs being carried out. Nurses are required to have an articulate expertise equipping them to initiate and lead dialoguing surrounding this sensitive topic.
Nurses need specialized education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as to how to care for the large population of aging Baby Boomers. As patient advocates, nurses seek to provide that the wishes of individuals and their families are known and carried out, resulting in optimal end-of-life care experiences.
ELNEC has created an extensive evidence-based curriculum that is now available for Nurse Educators to incorporate into academic nursing curriculum.