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.
From the City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, Calif (Dr Ferrell and Ms Virani); the Palliative Care Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass (Ms Dahlin); the Detroit Receiving Hospital and the Wayne State University College of Nursing, Detroit, Mich (Dr Campbell); the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; Chicago, Ill (Dr Paice); and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Washington, DC (Ms Malloy).
Corresponding author: Judith A. Paice, PhD, RN, FAAN, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 676 N St. Clair St, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60611 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) was originally supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (Geraldine Bednash, PhD, FAAN, Principal Investigator) and City of Hope (Betty Ferrell, PhD, FAAN, Principal Investigator). The investigators acknowledge the many contributions of the ELNEC-Critical Care faculty, including the lead consultants Connie Dahlin and Meg Campbell, as well as Patrick Coyne, Peggy Kalowes, Pat Murphy, and Debra Wiegand. The investigators are especially grateful to the ELNEC-Critical Care participants who have improved the care at end of life for their patients as a result of participating in this program.