Be they Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard, active duty or reserve, they’ve dedicated their lives to preserving democracy and keeping Americans safe.
Now, City of Hope nursing researchers aim to give something back by improving the last weeks and months of these heroes’ lives.
|Betty Ferrell (Photo courtesy the Archstone Foundation)|
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently awarded City of Hope’s End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) a three-year contract to train nurses in how to provide better palliative care for veterans with life-threatening illnesses.
“Palliative care manages pain and debilitating symptoms that cause distress and discomfort during serious illness,” said Betty Ferrell, Ph.D., R.N. A nationally recognized palliative care expert, Ferrell is professor in the Division of Nursing Research and Education at City of Hope and principal investigator for the new ELNEC-For Veterans project.
More than 54,000 American veterans, mostly from World War II and the Korean War, die each month, according to the VA. More than 9 million veterans are age 65 or older, and the number will grow through 2034, according to the U.S. Census.
The need for hospice and palliative care in the VA system will grow, as well, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospice and Palliative Care Initiative aims to improve the quality of this care.
During the three years of the ELNEC-For Veterans project, 600 nurse educators will enroll in national “train-the-trainer” courses. They’ll gain expertise that will touch thousands of veterans in 153 VA medical centers across the U.S.
City of Hope and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing launched ELNEC in 2000 after extensive research documented that most nurses received inadequate end-of-life care preparation during their basic education.
Within a decade, the impact of ELNEC’s train-the-trainer concept has grown exponentially. More than 11,000 nurses representing all 50 states and 65 countries have received training, which they then share with colleagues in educational and clinical settings.
“The ELNEC-For Veterans project will provide planning and faculty to develop a curriculum and training programs to meet the unique educational needs of nurses who care for veterans,” said Ferrell.
She noted the project also seeks to reach nurses outside the VA system, in settings such as community hospitals and academic centers.
You can find more information about the ELNEC-For Veterans project at www.aacn.nche.edu/ELNEC.