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The ELDER Project: Evaluating End-of-Life Knowledge Among Health Care Providers

Mager, Diana R. DNP, RN-BC; Lange, Jean W. PhD, RN, FAAN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: February 2016 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 - p 22–28
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000199
Feature Articles

The purpose of this year-long pilot study was to measure end-of-life care knowledge among health care providers (nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, spiritual care) in 5 home-care and long-term-care settings before and after attending educational sessions. The End of Life Nursing Education Consortium curriculum was used to inform 10 interactive, interprofessional educational sessions. Sessions were offered once per month for 10 months at each of the 5 partnering agencies. Quantitative data on end-of-life knowledge were gathered using a nursing-focused instrument that was modified for this study to address variation in provider role and educational level. Qualitative data via journal entries and structured interviews were also gathered. After session completion, mean scores (N = 34) improved significantly in 3 instrument categories (culture, communication, quality of life) and improved slightly in the remaining 6 instrument categories (nursing care, pain, symptom management, ethics/legal, grief and loss, and death), suggesting improved end-of-life knowledge among this sample. Qualitative results revealed participants perceived that they had gained knowledge for use in their current and future practice. Use of interactive small-group sessions focused on end-of-life care for interprofessionals was an effective method for increasing knowledge in these settings.

Diana R. Mager, DNP, RN-BC, is assistant professor, Fairfield University, Connecticut.

Jean W. Lange, PhD, RN, FAAN, is founding dean and professor, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut.

Address correspondence to Diana R. Mager, DNP, RN-BC, Fairfield University, 1073 N Benson Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824 (

This project was funded by the Division of Nursing of the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services (award 2 D62HP06858-04-00).

Ethical adherence: Fairfield University internal review board approved (protocol 389).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2016 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.