Grant Application

Marika Haranis ,CRNP, ACHPN, UPMC Altoona Family Physicians, UPMC Altoona

Proposed Innovation

Nurses provide essential care when a patient or family makes the decision to forego life-sustaining treatment and the patient begins the active dying process. However, many lack the knowledge, skills, and approach needed to provide quality end-of-life care.

This project will create a sustainable palliative care nurse champion program designed to train registered nurses in how to provide expert palliative care at the bedside.

Improvements in Action

Using a program developed by the End-of-Life Nursing Consortium (ELNEC), this project will provide nurses with training in palliative medicine and nursing. These palliative nurse champions will then serve as resources to other nurses and take an active role in educating future nurse champions.

Training will focus on improving understanding of the dying process, recognizing signs and symptoms, the use of medication in end-of-life care, and communicating effectively with patients and families.

Results – In Progress

Training will be a steppingstone for the eligible palliative nurse champions to take the Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN®) examination. The certified registered nurse practitioner will travel to the ELNEC course to participate in the train-the-trainer program.

Following training, the palliative nurse champions will meet once a month to discuss issues and opportunities for patient care improvement and for continuing education. They also will be expected to participate in future training sessions once a year to prepare other champions.