Additional Skills for Registered Nurses Who Focus Primarily on Supporting People with Serious Illness
This Learning Pathway contains a comprehensive set of training and tools to help RNs who focus primarily on supporting people with serious illness address the unique needs of patients and families. Clinical topics include assessing patient needs and concerns, understanding patients’ goals for care, addressing symptom burden, and helping patients to avoid crises and plan for the future.
Assess the Needs and Concerns of Patients
An introduction to palliative care, how it is delivered, its impact on quality of life, and the growing population of patients who need it.
Assesses for nine symptoms experienced by patients with serious illness and quantifies their severity. Alberta Health Services.
Brief (4-question) screening tool for anxiety and depression.
Assessment tool and resource list to address social risk factors.
Short conversation guide to elicit information about a patient's spiritual history and preferences.
Self-reported caregiver assessment.
Checklist of triggers for referral to a specialty palliative care team.
Strengthen the Clinician-Patient Relationship and Understand Care Goals
Identify the role of physicians and advanced practitioners in introducing patients to ACP.
Build physicians’ and advanced practitioners’ skills in guiding and documenting ACP conversations.
Conversation framework and key phrases to share empathy and deepen your relationship with your patient. Vital Talk, 2019.
Defines unconscious bias and how it influences patient care, and provides ways to reduce the impact of unconscious bias on care delivery.
This resource lists step-wise tips to foster comfortable, productive dialogue for ‘the hospice conversation’.
Manage Pain and Symptoms
Patient and family factors that influence prescribing decisions for patients with serious illness.
Ongoing evaluation of opioid benefits, risks, and side effects for the patient with serious illness.
Take this online course to learn how to manage dyspnea, including the physical causes of shortness of breath and the emotional impact on the patient.
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of serious illness, and can cause dangerous complications. Take this online course to learn practical skills to identify, manage, and reduce these symptoms.
Constipation occurs in at least 70% of patients living with a serious illness and often goes unrecognized. Take this online course to learn critical skills to identify and manage the impact of constipation.
Take this online course to learn evidence-based strategies to identify and treat anxiety in patients with a serious illness.
This online course teaches how to accurately identify and treat depression in patients living with a serious illness.
Recommended validated cognitive assessment tools.
Prevent Crises and Help Patients Plan Ahead
Considerations for clinicians, patients, and families upon diagnosis, including advance care planning, personal care needs, legal and financial planning, work and retirement planning, and prevention of common medical risks.
This course provides context and best practices for identifying older adults at risk for poor outcomes, including falls, delirium, and caregiving challenges.
National database of community services - enter a zip code and locate assistance with food, housing, health services, care needs, and other resources.
Assessment questions to help nurses understand the impact of serious illness on a patient's relationships, social and spiritual supports, financial stability, and trust in the health care system. Fast Facts, April 2020
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