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Rural Palliative Care - Clinician Education

This page providers resources and information about education opportunities for clinicians to support delivery of palliative care services.

Center to Advance Palliative Care. CAPC provides health care professionals with tools, training and technical assistance to start and sustain successful palliative care programs in hospitals and other health care settings.

End of Life/Palliative Education Resource Center - Fast Facts and Concepts. This series of fact sheets provides practical, peer-reviewed, and evidence-based summaries on key topics important to clinicians and trainees caring for patients facing life-limiting illnesses. They are designed to be quick teaching tools for bedside rounds, as well as self-study material for health care professional trainees and clinicians who work with patients with life-limiting illnesses.

Handbook for Rural Health Care Ethics—A Practical Guide for Professionals. The handbook uses a case-based approach to analyzing, solving and anticipating health care ethics dilemmas. It is authored by physicians, nurses, health-care ethicists, and hospital administrators who all had scholarship or expertise in rural ethics. Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine. Download the complete handbook (388-page PDF) or any of the 17 chapters. Chapter 8: Shared Decision-Making and Chapter 11: End-of-Life Decision Making may be particularly useful for palliative care.

Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. Resource for geriatric palliative care on the geriatric clinical nursing Web site of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, New York University College of Nursing.

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. This group has numerous resources available to support palliative care, including audioconferences, journal club, CDs from previous presentations.

Model for Improvement. Presented by Karla Weng, Stratis Health, for the Minnesota Rural Palliative Care Initiative. Recorded March 10, 2009. (16-minute webinar) Handout (8-page PDF)

  • Action Plan Use. A grid to outline the goals and objectives of your palliative care project. (1-page Word doc)
  • Sample Action Plan. This example can help you understand how to complete your action plan. (3-page Word doc)

Palliative Care Leadership Center. Fairview Health Services Palliative Care Program is designated as one of six national Palliative Care Leadership Centers (PCLCs) by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These programs host site visits, including training and technical assistance for hospitals and other institutions seeking to start or strengthen their own palliative care programs.

Quality Care During Advanced Illness: What Do Patients Want That Works? Patients and families often find themselves at odds with or abandoned by their medical providers at the end of their lives, forced to seek others who will respect their wishes. This podcast features Diane Meier, Director, Center to Advance Palliative Care; Jim Conway, Senior Vice President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Produced by IHI. (podcast and resources, October 8, 2009)

Symptom Management at End-of-Life. One of the key pillars of palliative care is the ability to manage pain and other symptoms. This three-part educational series focuses on the non-pain symptoms that people experience at end of life. Presented by Laura Scherer, RN, Director, Unity Family Home Care and Hospice. Part I covers the gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of anorexia and cachexia, dehydration, nausea and vomiting, bowel obstruction, constipation, and diarrhea. Part II covers anxiety, delirium/agitation, and depression. Part III covers dyspnea, noisy respiration, fatigue, and pressure ulcers. Rural Palliative Care Networking Group.

  • Part I: Recorded September 19, 2013, (81-minute audio); Slides (82-page PDF)
  • Part II: Recorded January 28, 2014, (66-minute audio); Slides (48-page PDF)
  • Part III: Recorded May 6, 2014, (77-minute audio); Slides (18-page PDF); Handout (11-page PDF)


End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC). An American Nurses Association project is a national education initiative to improve end-of-life care in the United States. ELNEC partners with the Hospice Education Network to provide Web-based training.

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. An organization for individual members of the nursing team working in the specialty of hospice and palliative care across the life. The site lists curriculum and other resources specific to advanced nurses, generalist nurses, licensed practical/vocational nurses, and nursing assistants.


American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. The educational resources on this Web site include meetings, webinars, and self-study materials.

Patients and families

Bridging the Gap Toward Smoother Care Transitions. Presented by Darla Walder, Executive Director, Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging. Recorded 05/02/13. (52-minute audio file)

Best Practices for End of Life (EOL) Communication. Presented by Heidi Randen, MN, RN, University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Recorded 03/22/12. This presentation is designed to help novice health care providers understand the fundamentals of good end-of-life communications; practice applying these fundamentals in hypothetical situations; integrate the fundamentals into their practice; reflect on their own experiences; develop a greater appreciation for the benefits of good end-of-life communication; and continue to develop these skills. (42-minute audio file)

Communication Challenges at the End of Life. This article discusses communication skills and outlines how to share "bad news." Long Term Care, Ontario Long Term Care Association, posted with permission. (4-page PDF)

Difficult Discussions. Preparing to have a conversation with patients and family members about end-of-life care, presented by Lores Vlaminck, RN, BSN, MA,CHPN. (58-minute audio file. 4/28/09) Handout (14-page PDF)

Information About Family Conferences for Patients and Families. Example from Lakewood Health System, Staples (1-page Word doc)