End-of-Life Care Education in Acute and Critical Care: The California ELNEC Project

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Abstract

Acute and critical care nurses care for an increasingly aging population in the last stages of life. Unfortunately, many of these nurses do not have adequate education to care for this population. The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) developed a critical care course, and in 2007 the Archstone Foundation provided a grant to educate critical care nurses in California. From 2007 to 2010, 388 participants completed the course and rated it very effective at improving end-of-life care education in their institution. After completing the national ELNEC-Critical Care train-the-trainer course, these participants taught more than 2900 classes in the ELNEC modules to their colleagues. Participants also revised policies and made system changes in their workplaces to provide better care to dying critical care patients and their families. The ELNEC/Archstone program improved acute and critical care nurses' end-of-life care education and, ultimately, practice and serves as a model for future educational efforts.

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