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Palliative Care Across the Spectrum: Care When There is No Cure

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Course Description

This two-day program is designed to educate nurses and other healthcare professionals from a variety of settings including critical care, medical-surgical, emergency department, long-term care and hospice care about palliative care. Palliative care encompasses chronic and terminal disease management, pain and symptom management, excellent communication strategies, goals setting and end-of-life therapies. Because the nurse’s role in each of these areas is crucial, this seminar will help prepare the nurse to provide effective palliative care.

Program Learning Outcomes

This program prepares the learner to:

  • Prepare the participant to engage in primary palliative care strategies in a variety of settings.
  • Describe the differences between hospice care and palliative care.
  • Formulate an approach to having a goal of care conversation.
  • Recognize natural opportunities for death based on specific disease trajectories.
  • Develop a plan of care for the patient who is actively dying.


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 3:45 pm

  • Palliative Care: What Is It?
    Historical Perspectives: How did We get Here? | Definitions: End-of-Life, Comfort Care, Hospice Care—Is There a Difference? | Goals of Care: Whose Goals are They Anyway? | Dying the Good Death: Can Death be Good?
  • The Disease Trajectory
    CHF | COPD | Dementias | HIV, AIDS | Cancers
  • Symptom Management: Across All Settings—ICU to Home
    Dyspnea and Cough | Anxiety and Agitation | Nausea and Vomiting | Fatigue and Depression
  • Grief, Loss and Bereavement
    The Grief Process: Types of Grief | Grief Assessment: Who is Grieving? | Bereavement Interventions: What Can We Do?
  • Cultural and Spiritual Considerations
    Cultural Differences: Are They Important? | Spiritual Beliefs Regarding Death and Dying
  • Taking Care of You
    Death Anxiety | Cumulative Grief | Self Care

Day 2, 8:00 am to 3:45 pm

  • Pain Management
    Barriers to Pain Relief: They Don’t Look Like They are in Pain | Pain Assessment: What Am I Assessing? | Pharmacologic Therapies: Opioids, Adjunctive Meds | Non-Pharmacologic Interventions: Is it Quackery?
  • Ethical and Legal Issues
    Decision-Making Issues | Advance Directives | Withdrawing and Withholding Treatments | Double Effect Principal
  • Dying a Good Death
    Terminal Dehydration | Terminal Anorexia
  • Having “Those” Conversations: “Am I Dying?”
    The Communication Process | Factors Influencing Communication
  • Deceleration of Treatment
    Is This Legal? | What are We Doing?
  • The Imminently Dying Patient
    Psychological and Spiritual Signs | Physical Symptoms | Universal Signs of Imminent Death | Death Findings