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End-of-Life Care: Planning, Information and Discussion

As modern medicine extends people’s lives, it also extends the last stage of their lives, leading to a number of care decisions people must make as they approach death. This course covers topics and information resources for navigating these end-of-life health issues, with the goal preparing information providers to equip people with tools and resources to plan for end-of-life care that is consistent with their wishes and values. Topics discussed include hospice, palliative care, the decision to stop further treatment, caregiving for loved ones who are near death, and relevant legal documents like advance directives. This course also discusses how information professionals and health care providers can sensitively meet information needs surrounding these topics while respecting the boundaries of medical and legal ethics.

This course is intended for providers of health information who work with the public, but anyone is welcome to take it. It is offered online via Moodle over 3 weeks, with about 1 hour of work per week.


Upon completion of this class, participants will be able to:

  1. Locate information about end-of-life care, hospice, palliative care and comfort care from reliable information resources, particularly MedlinePlus and the NIH’s National Institute on Aging.
  2. Explain the differences and similarities between end-of-life care situations and scenarios like in-home care, skilled nursing facilities, hospice facilities, withdrawal of life support, and medical aid in dying.
  3. Explain the purposes of advance directives, DNR orders, power of attorney for health care, and other legal documents related to decisions about end-of-life care.
  4. Conduct conversations about end-of-life care, respecting people's emotions as well as their moral, ethical and religious beliefs surrounding life and death.
  5. Follow ethical and legal restrictions in discussing end-of-life care issues, particularly in declining to provide advice on medical and legal topics that the course touches on.
  6. Explain issues and information needs affecting family caregivers of people nearing the end of their lives.
Class Length: 
3 hours
Course Owner(s):
Jarrod Irwin, MA, Consumer Health Coordinator
Jarrod Irwin, MA, Consumer Health Coordinator
Continuing Education:

3 hours of continuing-education credit from the Medical Library Association.
Fulfills CHIS competencies
3: Knowledge of subject matter/resources
5: Communication, reference and instruction
8: Ethical and legal issues

This class is eligible for Consumer Health Information Specialization continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association.

Past Classes

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