First Advisor

Jackson, Alma

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Jackson, Alma


Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice


Loretto Heights School of Nursing

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

99 pages


Executive Summary Palliative Care and Hospice Community Education Problem In the researcher's home hospice practice, a need for community education regarding Palliative Care and Hospice is recognized. Patients and family members need information about End of Life (EOL) care options prior to the urgency of a crisis. According to Szirony, Oopko, Masiulaniec and Binder (2011) many patients and family members learn of hospice and palliative care services only after admission into a program. The decision to sign in to a program reflects their perception of there being no other choice rather than understanding the options and benefits (Szirony, et al, 2011). The Capstone practice question is as follows: In patients and families dealing with life limiting illness, how does provision of an educational discussion to demystify Palliative Care and Hospice options and benefits, compared to no community education, influence their report of increased understanding of Palliative Care and Hospice options and benefits? Purpose The project was implemented for the purpose of providing accurate and consistent education for the community about the Palliative Care and Hospice options for EOL care. Many eligible patients who could benefit from hospice care are not receiving it until the last couple weeks or days of life, or often not at all. Rickerson, Harrold, Kapo, Carroll and Casarett (2005) quote three weeks stay in hospice for the median length of stay, with 10% of patients signing in to hospice on the last day of life. Goal The goal this project intends to accomplish is to establish trust and promote a comfortable situation for EOL care dialogue, resulting in participants understanding the process and the benefits of accepting Palliative Care and Hospice, and a venue to ask questions about the options. The hope is for understanding of and enrollment in Palliative Care and Hospice sooner rather than later, resulting in patient outcome of easier and comfortable transitions in life limiting illnesses and end of life. Objective The objective, the benefit and the ultimate outcome are for the participants to have an increased understanding of EOL care options and benefits, specifically palliative care and hospice. To this end, dissemination of accurate and current information regarding palliative care and hospice and engagement of participants in dialogue during the intervention is the key objective. Plan The plan to provide education to demystify palliative care and hospice and to clarify options and benefits available for managing care during the End of Life process began with identification of the need. The ensuing steps were to plan the intervention content, advertise the offering and engage the participants. Outcomes and Results Forty one total participants completed both the pre- and post-intervention measurement surveys. A statistically significant improvement in mean knowledge scores was noted on the post-interventions surveys, suggesting that the intervention was successful in providing increased understanding of palliative care and hospice to the participants.

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

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