Palliative care Advanced Practice Nurse role in engaging in serious illness conversations

Eleonora Cretu, Sarah Torabi, Kalli Stilos


Having advanced care planning conversations with patients and/or their substitute decision maker has been shown to lead to many benefits, including aligning a patient’s priorities and health expectations with his or her wishes. Typically, these conversations have been held with physicians, but have evolved over time to also be incorporated into the roles of other healthcare professionals. Advanced practice nurses who are trained to use a framework or an approach when having such conversations has been shown to have merit. As a result, advanced practice nurses are well positioned to be leaders in facilitating such conversations. In this project, the documentation notes of one advanced practice nurse on an in-patient palliative care team were examined, using the Serious Illness Conversation Guide, to evaluate the Advanced Practice Nurse’s contribution to the process of holding advanced planning conversations with patients.

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