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Certificate in End of Life Care

$189.00 (USD)

Offered in partnership with Massachusetts Bay Community College choose another school



A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!

How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

Week 1
Lesson 01 - End of Life Issues: Ethical Issues

End-of-life care presents health care professionals with many ethical challenges and dilemmas. Understanding ethical theories and ethical principles can provide a foundation for decision making. The goal of this course is to provide health care professionals with the tools necessary to make ethical decisions when providing care for patients at the end of their lives. Key ethical issues related to end-of-life care, including advance directives, euthanasia, medical futility, do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders, pain management, terminal hydration, organ donation, and considerations for the neonatal and pediatric patient are examined. In addition, guidelines for dealing with ethical dilemmas are also provided.

Lesson 02 - End of Life Issues: Hospice and Palliative Care

Using a multidisciplinary team approach, the primary goals of hospice and palliative care are to provide symptom control, psychosocial and spiritual care, and optimal quality of life. The role of hospice and palliative care is rapidly expanding due to a better understanding of end-of-life issues by health care professionals. The goal of this course is to provide nurses and health care professionals with an overview of end-of-life issues in hospice and palliative care, including the specific characteristics of hospice and palliative care and the similarities and differences in hospice and palliative care for both adults and children.

Week 2
Lesson 03 - End of Life Issues: Pain Assessment and Management

Pain assessment and management are especially important for high-quality end-of-life care. To provide quality care to individuals at this stage of their lives, health care practitioners must be particularly skilled at assessing pain, understanding misconceptions of pain management, addressing cultural issues in pain management, and providing effective pain therapies. The goal of this course is to provide health care providers with an overview of pain assessment and management for patients of all ages during their end-of-life care, including cultural considerations and pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic management techniques.

Lesson 04 - End of Life Issues: Physiologic Changes at the End of Life

For health care professionals to provide compassionate, quality care to patients at the end of life, they must understand the many changes the patient undergoes. Holistic end-of-life care provides relief, comfort, and support whenever possible. It involves a comprehensive approach to the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of the individual. The goal of this course is to examine one specific aspect of holistic end-of-life care: the physiologic changes in body systems associated with the end of life. Guidelines for the care of specific physical symptoms at the end of life will also be presented.

Week 3
Lesson 05 - End of Life Issues: Death, Dying, and Grief

The dying experience is a profound, individual experience. The experience of loss and grief are as individual and unique as the persons involved. During this time, people often raise questions about the meaning of life. The goal of this course is to provide health care professionals with an understanding of the spiritual, psychological, social, and physical aspects of the dying experience; the nature of care and the needs of the dying; supportive aspects of care for the dying; the grieving process; healing from grief and loss; and cultural differences in response to death and grief.

Lesson 06 - Cultural Considerations at the End of Life

At the end of life, attitudes about the loss of a loved one profoundly affect how both a dying person and his or her family and friends address the dying and the grieving processes. Diverse populations in the United States provide health-care professionals with tremendous opportunities to bridge cultural gaps and learn about different values and religious and spiritual belief systems. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of specific cultural influences at the end of life for African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indian/Alaskan Natives, and Muslim Americans, including the impact of religion and spirituality on funeral and burial practices and the challenges for health-care professionals to become culturally competent with end-of-life care.

Week 4
Lesson 07 - Pediatric End-Of-Life Care: Compassion and Caring

The death of a child is a devastating event with long-lasting effects on family, friends, and health care providers. While pediatric death rates in the United States have declined in the last century, pediatric death remains a critical health care issue. Often parents and children do not receive the care they deserve and require during this challenging time. The goal of this course is to examine the epidemiology of pediatric death; differentiate between hospice, palliative, and end-of-life care; explain important elements of symptom management; discuss factors relating to caring for parents and a dying child; explain facets of spiritual care of a dying child; and explore future directions for pediatric palliative care.

Lesson 08 - Caregiving at the End of Life: Issues and Considerations

Caregivers are individuals who provide care to an individual who needs assistance. Caregivers can be professionals but are often unpaid individuals who support a loved one through an illness or the last phase of life. The experience can be immensely gratifying and rewarding as well as challenging and stressful. By anticipating the demands of end-of-life, caregiving can shift the journey to one in which support focuses on acceptance and healing. The goal of this course is to review family and caregiver issues, explain patient rights and the ethical principles of caregiving, examine behavioral, nutritional, and safety issues of caregiving, and explore integrative health methods of supporting caregiver well-being.

Week 5
Lesson 09 - Organ and Tissue Donation and Recovery

The gift of organ donation is the gift of life. However, the gap between those who need an organ or tissue donation and the number of donations available is wide and growing. Health care providers need to understand the issues surrounding organ and tissue donation and recovery so they can effectively support the needs of donor families and donor recipients. The goal of this course is for the learner to provide an overview of the complex and challenging issues surrounding organ and tissue donation and recovery, including methods of compassionately and effectively supporting the family during the process.




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