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End-of-Life Decision Making for Older Adults: Competent and Compassionate Care


End-of-Life Decision Making for Older Adults: Competent and Compassionate Care

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Overview of Teaching Strategy 

The complexities and challenges older adults and their families confront during end-of-life transitions can be overwhelming. The interdisciplinary health care team plays an important role in helping ensure each older adult has individualized, compassionate, humanistic, and dignified care at the end of life. The following teaching strategy can be used to introduce end-of-life care and enhance the learning of students in beginning and/or advanced pre-licensure nursing courses. The teaching strategy can be utilized in a variety of teaching and learning situations, including didactic lectures; clinical settings, such as post-clinical conferences and debriefings; simulation scenario debriefings; and small seminar discussions. 

Learning Objectives
Students will: 

  • Appropriately assess client and family needs during end-of-life transitions for older adults.
  • Assess and recognize the clients’ physical, emotional, and mental changes associated with the dying experience.
  • Understand the complexities involved in coordinating and managing end- of-life care for older adults.
  • Describe the importance of the interdisciplinary team and the specific role of the nurse when providing care at the end of life. 

ACE.S Knowledge Domains 

  • Individualized Aging
  • Complexity of Care
  • Vulnerability During Transitions 

ACE.S Essential Nursing Actions 

  • Assess Function and Expectations
  • Coordinate and Manage Care
  • Make Situational Decisions 

NLN Competencies for Graduates of Nursing Programs 

  • Human Flourishing
  • Nursing Judgment

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