ANA, HPNA call on nurses to transform palliative care

Two professional nursing groups are calling for nurses to take the lead in innovating palliative care.

The American Nurses Association and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association are calling on nurses to take the lead on transforming palliative care.

The two groups convened a panel in January 2016 to review the role of nurses in palliative care and identify strategies they can use to lead transformation. After releasing a version of its report (PDF) in September for public review, the ANA and HPNA went back to the drawing board to add even more resources.

The ANA and HPNA concluded that nurses can step up to the leadership plate in education about palliative care, in crafting such programs and in research on how to provide better care. The report is designed to encourage them to take action.

“This call to action is the blueprint for America’s 3.6 million nurses to transform the care and culture of serious illness, by sharing a common framework for the delivery of primary palliative nursing care to all patients and families, whenever and wherever they need it,” HPNA CEO Sally Welsh, R.N., said in announcement.

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The report contains 12 recommendations, including:

  • Include criteria developed by the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium across prelicensure, graduate and continuing education.
  • Prelicensure exams should include more on palliative care, and relicensing tests should also touch on the subject.
  • New models of palliative care should be funded and developed to address the needs of vulnerable groups, underserved populations and communities of color.
  • A thought leader summit would allow clinicians at all levels to discuss ways to address practice barriers and better offer palliative care services.
  • Funding for palliative care in communities with fewer resources must be supported.
  • Nurses should be given leadership roles in settings like healthcare or regulatory boards to offer more perspective on palliative care.

In addition to the 12 main recommendations, the report includes other ways to provide better palliative care. For instance, healthcare organizations can develop palliative care experts internally, and leaders must support nurses that choose to speak up about improving palliative care.