The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

End of Life Care 2: Effective Communication in End of Life Care: General Principles

End of Life Care 2: Effective Communication in End of Life Care: General Principles

Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University
Tarae Waddell-Terry, MS, Nancy Hodgson, RN, Barbara Reville, ACHPN, Laraine Winter, PhD
Geriatric Education Center (GEC)
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
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Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Ok Peer reviewed Peer reviewed

The patient, family members and healthcare team play an important role in the communication process during end of life care. End of life communication involves the disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis as well as eliciting preferences regarding goals of care, care site, palliative care and hospice options.

The concept of this module is to give healthcare professionals and students an understanding of communication, barriers to communication and decision making at the end of life.

Educational objectives: 

Upon completion of this module, the participant will be able to:

  • Review strategies that facilitate shared-decision making in end of life (EOL) communication.
  • Identify sentinel events warranting an EOL conversation.
  • Discuss factors patient/families consider important in EOL communication.
  • Identify barriers to EOL communication and impact of poor communication.
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Technical Requirements and Notes: This learning module uses Adobe Flash media and may require you to add a browser "plug-in" in order to display properly. Most computers already have this free plug-in installed. But, if yours does not, it is very easy to download and install. Try the module first because the software is "smart" enough to detect the Flash player. If the module doesn't begin, you will be automatically prompted to download the plug-in. The module contains links to external websites which will open in a new browser window. Your browser's back button will not return to the module, so these new windows should be closed.

In order to track your progress, you must create an account and fill out a brief demographic profile. Once the profile has been created, you can log directly into the course.

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Suggested Citation:
RN, Ms. Barbara Reville,MS, APRN-BS, ACHPN, Dr. Laraine Winter, PhD and Tarae Waddell-Terry, MS. End of Life Care 2: Effective Communication in End of Life Care: General Principles. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2011 Available from: