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Hospice and Palliative Care Certification Review Course

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Course Description

The purpose of this two-day course is to enable the nurse to successfully pass the examination to be certified in hospice and palliative care. The information presented is applicable to nurses working with adults in diverse settings since patients with end-stage diseases reside either temporarily or permanently in multiple arenas. The dying process is included as it is imperative for nurses to understand and provide comfort and knowledge to patients and families.

Program Learning Outcomes

This program prepares the learner to:

  • Integrate and apply the knowledge, skills and judgment to practice effectively and ethically in designated role of caring for seriously ill patients.
  • Apply the specific scope and standards of palliative care principles to patients based on their goals of care in serious illness.
  • Articulate the compassion, sensitivity, assessment and communication skills required for palliative nursing.
  • Acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully obtain certification in this specialty.
  • Remain current in the practice of palliative care as this specialty evolves.


Sign-in begins at 7:30 am. Each day includes a one-hour lunch (on your own), as well as a morning and afternoon break of 15 minutes each. The order of lectures presented and break times may vary according to speaker preference.

Day 1, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

  • Introduction and Overview
    Registration | Scheduling the Examination | Weight of Content Topics
  • Cancer
    Hematologic | Oncologic | Paraneoplastic
  • Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis | Nutrition and Hydration | Autonomic Symptoms | Goals of Care Decisions | ICU Placement for Poor Outcome
  • Dementia
    Food and Fluid Decisions | Delirium | Medication Use and Behavioral Therapies
  • Cardiopulmonary Heart Failure
    Medications for Pain and Dyspnea | Fluid Balance | Dyspnea | Fatigue | Devices that Extend Life
  • COPD
    Pathophysiology of the Disease | Oral and Inhaled Medications | Respiratory Distress | Opioid Use | 
    Dyspnea | Anxiety | Exacerbations | Oxygen Use | Non-Invasive Ventilator Support
  • Renal Failure
    Diseases of the Kidneys | Assessing Glomerular Filtration Rate | Fluid Balance | Medical Management | Dialysis Decisions | Specific Analgesia Required
  • Liver Failure
    Causes | Ascites | Encephalopathy | Medications for Discomfort | GI Bleeding | Endoscopic Intervention for Esophageal Varices | MELD Scoring for Liver Failure Severity | Cachexia
  • Palliative Symptom Management
    Review Goals of Care | Distressing Symptoms | Anorexia/Cachexia | Mobility | Skin Protection
  • Pain Management: Assessment and Evaluation and Pharmacologic Interventions
    Past History | Current Etiology | Types of Pain | Psychosocial | Existential | Cultural | Fear | Depression | WHO Ladder | APS 12 Principles | Appropriate Pain Scales | Medications | Baseline and Breakthrough Pain | Side Effects | Equianalgesic Determination | Adjuvant Medications | Spiritual Issues | Therapies
  • Symptom Management
    Dyspnea and Cough | Nausea and Vomiting | Constipation | Delirium | Depression | Anxiety
  • Hospice and Palliative Emergencies
    Complications | Superior Vena Cava Syndrome | Spinal Compression | Acute Hemorrhage

Day 2, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

  • Approach to Test-Taking
  • Care of the Patient and Family and Medicare Hospice Benefit
    Grief Process | Types of Grief | Bereavement Plan | Goals of Care | Risks and Benefits of Interventions | Assess for Desired Place of Death | Patient/Surrogate Elect the Benefit | Desired Hospice | Requirements for Certifications | Four Levels of Care
  • Care of the Imminently Dying Patient and Management of Symptoms
    Signs and Symptoms | Change in Respirations | Mottling | Restlessness | Near-Death Awareness | Rales Dyspnea | Explanation of Interventions| Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological | Spiritual Support | Presence | Teach Family to Recognize Stages in the Dying Process
  • Professional and Regulatory Issues
    Nursing Standards | Practice Guidelines | Advance Directives | Professional Responsibilities | Domains of Care | Evidenced-Based Practice | Quality Assurance Practices
  • Review Questions