End of Life Care

Despite technological advances, many nurses are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with end of life care. Health care providers often view death as a failure rather than a natural process.

“End-of-life care is an essential aspect of the nursing role in many settings.” (Barrere, Durkin, 2014)

The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) offers evidenced-based resources to help you provide quality end of life patient care. These resources will allow you to develop personally and professionally so that you will feel confident leading in this area of practice.

End of Life Care Resources from AMSN

AMSN Convention Sessions

The following presentations can be purchased through the AMSN Online Library via the direct links below:

MEDSURG Nursing Journal Articles

AMSN members can access past issues of MEDSURG Nursing online for free. (You must be logged in to access the Issues Archive). Articles are listed in APA format with month of issue so that it is easy to locate in the Issues Archive.

If you are not a member of AMSN, MEDSURG Nursing is indexed with several document delivery services like CINAHL, Ovid, and PubMed.  

Barrere, C., Durkin, A., (2014) Finding the Right Words: The Experience of New Nurses after ELNEC Education Integration into a BSN Curriculum, MedSurg Nursing, 23(1) 35-55. February

Clabots, S., (2012). Strategies to help initiate and maintain the end-of-life discussion with patients and family members. MedSurg Nursing, 21(4), 197-203. August

Other End-of-Life Care Resources and Organizations

Center to Advance Palliative Care

CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality palliative care services for people facing serious, complex illness. The CAPC Website has excellent resources and tools for creating and sustaining a palliative care program.

End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC)

End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) project is a national education initiative to improve palliative care. The ELNEC project is administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), Washington, DC and the City of Hope, Los Angeles, CA.

The ELNEC project gives nurses the knowledge and skills required to provide this specialized care and to positively impact the lives of patients and families facing serious illness or the end of life. The ELNEC focuses on train-the-trainer courses.

Growth House

Growth House gives you free access to over 4,000 pages of high-quality education materials about end of life care, palliative medicine, and hospice care, including the full text of several books.

They provide education both for the general public and for health care professionals. Their content is provided through syndication arrangements with over forty major health care organizations and publishing houses who are members of the Inter-Institutional Collaborating Network On End of life Care (IICN), a content syndication network that they founded in 1996.

This website includes an End-of-Life Care Curriculum for Medical Teachers from The Stanford Faculty Development Center (SFDC). The Growth House search engine gives you access to the Internet's most comprehensive collection of reviewed resources for end-of-life care.

Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses (HPNA)

HPNA is a national organization that provides excellent resources for the care of patients with life limiting and terminal illness. HPNA also offers professional support for nurses who care for these patients.

National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care

The National Consensus Project Website provides an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the delivery of palliative care.

Dahlin, C, (Ed.) (2013) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care (3rd ed.) Pittsburgh, PA; The National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care.

National Quality Forum for End of Life Care

National Quality Forum measures and standards serve as a critically important foundation for end of life care initiatives to enhance healthcare value, make patient care safer, and achieve better outcomes.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end of life care and expanding access to hospice care.

Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin (PCNOW)

The purpose of PCNOW is to share educational resource material among the community of health professional educators involved in palliative care education. Education resources include: pain, non-pain symptoms, communications skills, ethics, terminal care, and clinical interventions used near the end of life.

Physician Assisted Death and Ethical Use of Opioids

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) has developed position statements on Physician Assisted Death and Ethical Use of Opioids, as well as guidelines for nurses when hastened death is requested. The position statements and guidelines offer much-needed guidance on the nurse's role in urgent clinical decision making. View all position statements.