Starting this fall, UVA Nursing will offer two new palliative care courses taught by veteran faculty who are specialists in the field.
Fall 2018's Palliative Care: The Discipline course (GNUR 6559) - Thursday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m., taught by long-time palliative care NP Clareen Wiencek - and spring 2019's Advanced Pain and Symptom Management course (GNUR 6559), taught by Kenneth White, also a palliative care NP - will, with the School's existing Ethics in Nursing course prepare students for the Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse exam administered by the Hospice and Palliative Care Credentialing Center.
The new course offerings capitalize on the School's breadth of expertise in the palliative care field, and fill a need in a field expected to grow exponentially with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation.
There is a breadth of expertise in palliative care here, and these courses represent our first step in satiating students’ and clinicians’ hunger for information in the area.Clareen Wiencek, palliative care NP and professor
Palliative care - often provided by an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers and others - aims to improve quality of life and reliving stress for patients and families facing serious, life-limiting illnesses. While it's a growing specialty, competency and skill in palliative care is increasingly needed. An estimated third of clinicians routinely deliver palliative care, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, which asserts that the number of patients needing palliative and end-of-life care will increase from 46 million to 69 million between 2015 and 2030.
Approximately 90 million Americans live with a serious illness, a number expected to double in the next 25 years, according to statistics from the Center to Advance Palliative Care. The number of palliative care teams in American hospitals has grown 164 percent over the last dozen years. Today, 1,700 hospitals, including UVA Medical Center, have a palliative care team (CAPC).
And it's hardly just an American issue. According to the World Health Organization, only 14 percent of individuals who need palliative care currently receive it.
According to data from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 1.43 million Americans received hospice care in 2016 for an average of 71 days. While 45 percent were cared for in their homes, 33 percent received care in skilled nursing facilities, 15 percent in hospice inpatient facilities, and seven percent received hospice care in acute care hospitals (NHPCO, 2017).
“There is a breadth of expertise in palliative care here at UVA,” says Wiencek, a long-time palliative care nurse practitioner and director of the School’s graduate programs, “and these courses represent our first step in satiating students’ and clinicians’ hunger for information in the area.”