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Geropalliative Care: A Concept Synthesis

Lee, Susan M. PhD, RN; Coakley, Edward E. MS, MA, MEd, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: July-August 2011 - Volume 13 - Issue 4 - p 242-248
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0b013e318214b6cc

The aging demography of the United States and other first-world countries is increasing the demands for palliative care. Palliative care is a philosophical stance as well as an interdisciplinary model of care delivery, the goals of which are to prevent and relieve suffering and to support the best quality of life for patients and their families, regardless of the stage of the disease or the need for other therapies. The palliative care needs of older adults are not unlike those of younger adults but are confounded by a variety of phenomena related to aging. The purpose of this article was to describe a concept synthesis of geropalliative care. Using Walker and Avant's method of concept synthesis, an electronic database search yielded 68 articles, the synthesis of which along with other evidence yielded 9 attributes of geropalliative care. To date, geropalliative care has been described from a disease perspective. The findings of this article begin to explicate the unique philosophical stance of geropalliative care as well as critical attributes that must be considered to provide the safest and best quality care to older adults and their families during the last 2 to 5 years of life.

Susan M. Lee, PhD, RN, is Nurse Specialist, The Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Edward E. Coakley, MS, MA, MEd, RN, is Director Emeritus for Nursing, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Address correspondence to Susan M. Lee, PhD, RN, The Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, 275 Cambridge St, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02114 (

This project was supported by funds from the Division of Nursing (DN), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under D11HP08359, Nurse Education, Practice, and Retention. The information or content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any official endorsement be inferred by, the DN, BHPr, HRSA, DHHS, or the US Government.

© 2011 The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association