Quality Palliative Care for Patients and Families

Sep 1, 2023

Palliative care is of vital importance. It not only improves the quality of life for patients and their families, but it also offers them options for pain and symptom management, reducing mental and physical distress/discomfort, and providing higher quality of life while still pursuing curative measures.

33 fellows from 10 countries were invited to Schloss Arenberg for this year’s Salzburg OMI Palliative Care (ELNEC) seminar, which took place from August 27 to September 2. Unlike the typical OMI seminars, this course stands out because it is exclusive for nursing professionals. Nurses from Central and Eastern Europe as well as the former Soviet Union gathered to learn from the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) curriculum, presented by esteemed palliative care experts.

Betty Ferrell

Betty Ferrell

OMI Course Director

This week we have participants from 10 countries. It is always a highlight for me to see the great progress being made by these countries as they improve palliative care for patients and families. As faculty, we are inspired by their knowledge, commitment, and leadership in improving care.  After each seminar, we share with our global colleagues the great work happening in these countries.

Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN, Professor and Director of Nursing Research and Education and Principal Investigator of ELNEC at City of Hope in the USA, served as the course director for the week. Carrie L. Cormack, DNP, APRN, CPNP, Patrick J. Coyne, MSN, ACHPN, ACNS-BC, FPCN, FAAN, Judith A. Paice, RN, PhD, FAAN, and Nicoleta Mitrea, APRN, MSc, PhD completed the faculty.

Content Focal Points

The ELNEC course provides a comprehensive curriculum addressing the many aspects of quality palliative care for patients and families. Topics include pain and symptom management, ethical issues in serious illness care, cultural considerations, care at the time of death, communication, loss, grief, and bereavement, as well as self-care for clinicians. Our course included separate sessions for pediatric focused clinicians, and lectures were followed by lab experiences to discuss cases and practice skills. All participants develop goals for implementing what they have learned when they return to their countries.

  • 33 fellows
  • 10 countries
  • 10 country presentations

Over the last 20+ years, the ELNEC project has trained clinicians in all 50 US states and in more than 100 countries. ELNEC’s train-the-trainer design, in which clinicians gain knowledge in palliative care and teaching skills to be able to return to their own countries and clinical settings to train others, is ideal for the quick and efficient spread of knowledge. ELNEC has educated over 45,737 trainers who have taught over 1.5 million clinicians, drastically impacting patients and families facing serious illness and the end of life.

During the seminar week, nurses were educated in vital areas of pediatric to geriatric palliative care. Lecture topics included Pain Assessment and Management, Symptom Management, Culture Considerations, Communication, Loss, Grief, Bereavement, Final Hours, and more. A pain lab (discuss Challenges, Cases, Practice Assessment/Treatment Plans), symptom management lab (Discuss Challenges, Cases, Practice Assessment/Treatment Plans), and a communication lab (Discuss Participants’ Challenges, Listening Exercise, Role Play, etc.) took place over the course of three afternoons, allowing participants to truly strengthen their skills in crucial areas of palliative care.

The course also incorporated the opportunity for participants to develop and present country presentations, which focused on addressing challenges and current barriers to care, opportunities and plans for implementing and disseminating ELNEC to enhance palliative care, and development of an action plan in their home countries.