This special issue contents : a report of physicians’ beliefs about physician-assisted suicide: a national study ; respecting autonomy and promoting the patient’s good in the setting of serious terminal and concurrent mental illness ; after-death functions of cell death; selective neuronal death in neurodegenerative diseases: the ongoing mystery ; practice variability in determination of death by neurologic criteria for adult patients ; mortal responsibilities: bioethics and medical-assisted dying ; anticipation, accompaniment, and a good death in perinatal care ; pros and cons of physician aid in dying ; brain death criteria: medical dogma and outliers ; dying well-informed: the need for better clinical education surrounding facilitating end-of-life conversations ; looking back at withdrawal of life-support law and policy to see what lies ahead for medical aid-in-dying.
Background: Palliative care is predominantly accessed late in the course of an illness, despite evidence to suggest the benefits of early engagement. Strategies are required to reduce the barriers to the delivery of palliative care.
Aim: To describe community understandings of and attitudes to palliative care and explore characteristics significantly associated with favourable attitudes towards palliative care.
Design: Cross-sectional survey data were collected including several sociodemographic characteristics, knowledge of palliative care and attitudes to palliative care. Correlational analyses identified factors related to positive attitudes to palliative care. Those of significance (p <=0.01) were examined using a multiple regression model to determine their predictive value.
Setting/participants: A community-based sample of consecutive English-speaking adults who volunteered their participation in response to a study advertisement distributed online through established community groups.
Results: A total of 421 participants (75% female, mean age: 51 ± 15.1) reported a median of at least three misperceptions of palliative care. Older age, previously undertaking a caregiving role, knowing someone who had received palliative care and reporting more accurate knowledge of palliative care significantly predicted favourable attitudes to palliative care (adjusted R2 = 0.24, F(8, 333) = 13.2, p < 0.001). Other factors typically associated with health literacy such as tertiary education, working at a medical facility and speaking a language other than English at home were not predictive.
Conclusion: Gaps in knowledge about palliative care exist in community, which may limit citizen’s potential access to quality care in the event of serious illness. These results point to a role for public education programmes, which may, in turn, also shift attitudes to palliative care.
Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the challenges anticipated by clinical staff in two Melbourne health services in relation to the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying in Victoria, Australia.
Methods: A qualitative approach was used to investigate perceived challenges for clinicians. Data were collected after the law had passed but before the start date for voluntary assisted dying in Victoria. This work is part of a larger mixed-methods anonymous online survey about Victorian clinicians' views on voluntary assisted dying. Five open-ended questions were included in order to gather text data from a large number of clinicians in diverse roles. Participants included medical, nursing and allied health staff from two services, one a metropolitan tertiary referral health service (Service 1) and the other a major metropolitan health service (Service 2). The data were analysed thematically using qualitative description.
Results: In all, 1086 staff provided responses to one or more qualitative questions: 774 from Service 1 and 312 from Service 2. Clinicians anticipated a range of challenges, which included burdens for staff, such as emotional toll, workload and increased conflict with colleagues, patients and families. Challenges regarding organisational culture, the logistics of delivering voluntary assisted dying under the specific Victorian law and how voluntary assisted dying would fit within the hospital's overall work were also raised.
Conclusions: The legalisation of voluntary assisted dying is anticipated to create a range of challenges for all types of clinicians in the hospital setting. Clinicians identified challenges both at the individual and system levels.What is known about the topic? Voluntary assisted dying became legal in Victoria on 19 June 2019 under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017. However there has been little Victorian data to inform implementation.What does this paper add? Victorian hospital clinicians anticipate challenges at the individual and system levels, and across all clinical disciplines. These challenges include increased conflict, emotional burden and workload. Clinicians report concerns about organisational culture, the logistics of delivering voluntary assisted dying under the specific Victorian law and effects on hospitals' overall work. What are the implications for practitioners? Careful attention to the breadth of staff affected, alongside appropriate resourcing, will be needed to support clinicians in the context of this legislative change.
OBJECTIVE: To analyse the level of knowledge and attitudes concerning living wills of nurses working in 3 hospitals of Servizo Galego de Saúde (Spain).
METHOD: Descriptive, cross-sectional, multi-centre study. Stratified sampling was carried out with nurses from the University Hospital Complexes of Ourense, Ferrol and Vigo. A sample size of 239 individuals was calculated. The data was collected during the first semester of 2018 using a validated self-administered questionnaire («Cuestionario de conocimientos y actitudes de los profesionales sanitarios en el proceso de declaración de voluntades vitales»).
RESULTS: A total of 262 nurses participated. Fifty percent believe that health professionals are obliged to inform about living wills. Two percent consider that they have enough information on the subject, and this is demonstrated in the knowledge questions, where between 61%-93% fail in the questions related to the documentation, use, and their legal aspects. Eighty-four percent consider that they have the obligation to uphold the values and beliefs of patients, and 89% that patients have the right to receive and decide on the right care. Thirteen percent consider that patients are not well informed about living wills, and 83% would recommend to chronic patients that they complete a living will.
CONCLUSIONS: Nurses have a great lack of knowledge about the legal aspects and the use of living wills, which makes them feel unable to inform their patients about them. Despite of the lack of knowledge, their attitude is positive and most of them state that they would recommend them to their patients.
BACKGROUND: Assisted dying is illegal in Norway, but a majority of the population is in favour of legalisation. Doctors’ attitudes to assisted dying were last investigated in 1993. Have their attitudes changed?
MATERIAL AND METHOD: two surveys undertaken among representative panel of practising doctors of the Institute for Studies of the Medical Profession in 2014 and 2016, respectively, included questions about assisted dying. The responses were analysed with the aid of descriptive statistics and logistic regression.
RESULTS: The response rates were 75.0 % (2014) and 73.1 % (2016). The majority was opposed to legalisation of assisted dying. In the 2016 survey, 9.1 % of the respondents reported to ‘strongly agree’ or ‘partially agree’ that physician-assisted suicide should be made legal for persons who suffer from ‘a fatal disease with short remaining life expectancy’. Younger and non-religious respondents took a positive view of legalisation more frequently than others. In the 2014 survey, 8.6 % of the respondents reported that they would be willing to provide physician-assisted suicide should it be made legal.
INTERPRETATION: As in 1993, a majority of Norwegian doctors were opposed to assisted dying, but now there seem to be more doctors than previously in favour of legalisation in certain cases. Only very few would be willing to provide assisted dying themselves in the event that it should it become permissible.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This study aimed to examine the psychometric properties of the Revised Death Attitude Profile (DAP-R) in a sample of Greek nurses and nursing students.
METHODS: A convenience sample (n = 934) was used from six National Health System hospitals, and two University Schools of Nursing in central and northern Greece completed the Greek version of the DAP-R (Gr-DAP-R).
RESULTS: Principal component analysis with varimax rotation revealed a six-factor solution, including approach acceptance, death avoidance, escape acceptance, neutral acceptance, fear of death, and after death concerns. The internal consistency for each of the subscales ranged from 0.64 to 0.88. Intercorrelations between the Gr-DAP-R subscales supported the relative independence of death attitudes dimensions.
CONCLUSIONS: The Gr-DAP-R can be used as a research and clinical tool in assessing death attitudes among Greek nurses.
BACKGROUND: Palliative and end-of-life care is a core competency for doctors and is increasingly recognised as a key clinical skill for junior doctors. There is a growing international movement to embed palliative care education in medical student and junior doctor education. To date there has been no review of the literature concerning the views and experiences of junior doctors delivering this care.
AIM: To review the published literature between 2000 and 2019 concerning junior doctors' experience of palliative and end-of-life care.
METHODS: Systematic literature review and narrative synthesis.
RESULTS: A search of six databases identified 7191 titles; 34 papers met the inclusion criteria, with a further 5 identified from reference searching. Data were extracted into a review-specific extraction sheet and a narrative synthesis undertaken. Three key themes were identified: (1) 'Significance of death and dying': all papers found that junior doctors care for many patients approaching the end of life, and this often causes emotional distress and can leave persisting memories for many years afterwards; (2) 'Thrown in at the deep end': junior doctors feel unprepared and unsupported in providing palliative and end-of-life care; and (3) 'Addressing the gaps': junior doctors often experience a medical culture of disengagement towards dying patients and varying attitudes of senior doctors. Subsequently they have to learn the skills needed through seeking their own opportunities.
CONCLUSION: Medical education needs to change in order to better prepare and support junior doctors for their role in caring for dying patients. This education needs to focus on their knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Background: Advance directives have been established as a legal document that ensures patients' wishes are followed if/when they cannot make medical decisions for themselves. The concept, advance directive, is rooted in the ethical principle of patient's autonomy. New York State recognizes three types of advance directives: New York State Health Care Proxy, Living Wills, and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. A common misnomer in healthcare is the idea that advance directives are for the elderly or patients with terminal illness. As per New York State statutes, everyone older than 18-years-old should have an advance directive to avoid conflicts in times of crisis. It has been shown that most patients believe it is their physician's responsibility to initiate an advance directive discussion and residents are at the forefront of most health facilities.
Objective: To assess the knowledge and attitude of internal medicine residents towards advance directive and to improve residents' skills and confidence on advance directive discussion.
Design: We carried out a prospective study to assess the knowledge and attitude of the internal medicine residents towards advance directive to validate the need to implement didactic sessions and simulations. Results: Fifty out of the 75 internal medicine residents of Harlem Hospital Center participated in the study. Most of the responders indicated that they lacked sufficient knowledge in advance directive discussion and indicated that they were interested in didactic sessions and simulations related to how to help patients with advance directives.
Conclusion: Our study showed that most of the residents lacked sufficient knowledge in advance directives discussions and the importance of its incorporation into residency training education.
BACKGROUND: Despite the documented and well known patient benefits of ACP, the completion of ACP, only a minority of patients, during the advanced or EOL stage of their illnesses, receive such care. The misconceptions about ACP for healthcare providers, such as nurses, might become potential barriers to the effective implication of ACP. Also, from the transcultural perspective, it is evident essential to explore Taiwanese nurses' attitudes, knowledge, and actions of ACP. The purposes of this study were to explore the implication of ACP or hospice care for nurses caring for non-cancer chronic illness patients at a regional teaching hospital in Taiwan; and, to identify predictors of those nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and actions toward ACP.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study with a purposive sample of 218 nurses was conducted at a teaching hospital in southern Taiwan. Structured questionnaires were employed and data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, t-test, one-way ANOVAs, Pearson's correlation and multiple regressions.
RESULTS: 16.1% of Taiwanese physicians actively initiated ACP issues or conversations with patients or their family members. Nurses' attitudes toward ACP were fairly positive but their knowledge about ACP was insufficient and actions of ACP were not positively executed. The predictors of ACP-Knowledge (ACP-K) included position title, education hours and lacking of educational training. The predictors of ACP-Attitude (ACP-A) included ACP-K and "fear of patient or family member not accepting", whereas ACP-A, position title, "patients do not feel necessary" and "not sure physician's concern" were the predictors of ACP-Act.
CONCLUSION: Continuous education and training for nurses regarding ACP needs to be improved by taking those predictors found in this current study into account, and more studies on the nurse's role in ACP also should be further examined.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: KAFGH 106-012. Date of registration 1 May 2017.
Objectives: To examine current practices, attitudes and levels of confidence related to advance care planning (ACP) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among healthcare professionals working in Ireland. This will inform future clinical guidance development.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals.
Results: There were 143 participants (109 general practitioners, 25 nurses, 7 physiotherapists and 2 consultant physicians). The majority (82%, n=117) cared for patients with COPD weekly, but only 23% (n=33) had initiated ACP with a patient with COPD over the previous 6 months. Overall, 59% (n=85) answered =6 of 8 general knowledge questions correctly. Participants demonstrated positive attitudes towards ACP (mean score 3.6/5.0), but confidence levels were low (2.2/4.0). Most thought ACP was appropriate for patients with severe or very severe COPD (71%, n=101%, and 91%, n=130, respectively) but were unsure or felt that it was not appropriate for those with mild–moderate COPD. However, almost all participants (97%, n=139) stated that if a patient expressed a desire to have ACP discussions, they would comply. Topics most likely to be discussed related to diagnosis and treatment options. Death and end-of-life issues were rarely discussed. The death of a family member or friend and participation in support groups were identified as new ‘triggers’ for initiating ACP.
Conclusions: Targeted education to improve general knowledge and confidence levels among healthcare professionals, together with initiatives to increase public awareness of ACP so that patients themselves might be more inclined to start the discussion, may help increase the uptake of ACP for this patient group.
OBJECTIVES: Asia's first national advance care planning (ACP) program was established in Singapore in 2011 to enhance patient autonomy and self-determination in end-of-life (EoL) care decision-making. However, no known study has examined the extent to which ACP in Singapore successfully met its aims. The purpose of the current study was to examine the attitudes of local healthcare professionals on patients' autonomy in decision-making at the EoL since they strongly influence the extent to which patient and family wishes are fulfilled.
METHODS: Guided by the Interpretive-Systemic Framework and Proctor's conceptual taxonomy of implementation research outcomes, an interview guide was developed. Inquiries focused on healthcare professionals' attitudes towards ACP, their clinical experiences working with patients and families, and their views on program effectiveness. Sixty-three physicians, nurses, medical social workers, and designated ACP coordinators who were actively engaged in ACP facilitation were recruited from seven major hospitals and specialist centers in Singapore through purposive sampling. Twelve interpretive-systemic focus groups were conducted, recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The extent to which patients in Singapore can exert autonomy in EoL care decision-making is influenced by five themes: (i) collusion over truth-telling to patient, (ii) deferment of autonomy by patients, (iii) negotiating patient self-determination, (iv) relational autonomy as the gold standard and (v) barriers to realization of patient choices.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Healthcare practitioners in Asian communities must align themselves with the values and needs of patients and their family and jointly make decisions that are consistent and congruent with the values of patients and their families. Sensitivity towards such cross-cultural practices is key to enhancing ACP awareness, discourse, and acceptability in Asian communities.
BACKGROUND: Advanced care planning (ACP) is an essential component of quality palliative care in nursing homes. Despite the benefits associated with ACP in nursing homes, completion rates are low. Staff members' knowledge and attitudes toward ACP were found to be main determinants of ACP completion.
AIMS: To assess nursing home staff members' attitudes towards ACP and their association to different types of knowledge.
METHODS: A convenience sample of 138 nursing home staff members (69% female, 53% non-Jewish, 46% nurses) who reported having heard the terms advanced directives and durable power of attorney completed a structured questionnaire assessing attitudes toward ACP, subjective knowledge, and three types of objective knowledge (declarative, legal and procedural) regarding ACP, as well as socio-demographic and professional factors.
RESULTS: Participants expressed positive attitudes toward formal and informal aspect of ACP, although their subjective and objective knowledge in the topic was moderate. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that the three dimensions of objective knowledge improved significantly the participants' attitude scores.
DISCUSSION: There is a need to integrate different types of knowledge in educational programs provided to nursing home staff members to improve their involvement in ACP initiatives with residents and family members.
This study aimed to describe Australian long-term care (LTC) personnel’s knowledge and attitudes concerning palliative care for residents with advanced dementia, and explore relationships with LTC facility/personnel characteristics. An analysis was undertaken of baseline data from a cluster randomised controlled trial of facilitated family case conferencing for improving palliative care of LTC residents with advanced dementia (the ‘IDEAL Study’). Participants included any LTC personnel directly involved in residents’ care. Knowledge and attitudes concerning palliative care for people with advanced dementia were measured using the questionnaire on Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia. Univariate and multivariate analyses explored relationships between personnel knowledge/attitudes and facility/personnel characteristics. Of 307 personnel in the IDEAL Study, 290 (94.5%) from 19/20 LTCFs provided sufficient data for inclusion. Participants included 9 (2.8%) nurse managers, 59 (20.5%) registered nurses, 25 (8.7%) enrolled nurses, 187 (64.9%) assistants in nursing/personal care assistants and 9 (3.1%) care service employees. In multivariate analyses, a facility policy not to rotate personnel through dementia units was the only variable associated with more favourable overall personnel knowledge and attitudes. Other variables associated with favourable knowledge were a designation of nursing manager or registered or enrolled nurse, and having a preferred language of English. Other variables associated with favourable attitudes were tertiary level of education and greater experience in dementia care. Like previous international research, this study found Australian LTC personnel knowledge and attitudes regarding palliative care for people with advanced dementia to be associated with both facility and personnel characteristics. Future longitudinal research is needed to better understand the relationships between knowledge and attitudes, as well as between these attributes and quality of care.
A majority of nurses struggled with a negative emotion of anger, doubt, fear, or anxious, uncomfortable in the face of death and dying. However, little was known about community health care providers’ in China. Therefore, we conducted a study to investigate their knowledge and attitudes toward end-of-life care and analyze its influencing factors. To provide reference for developing effective strategies to promote end-of-life care in China.
total of 132 community health care providers of 10 community health care centers in Changzhi city were investigated by a Questionnaire of Knowledge and Attitudes toward Caring for the Dying from May, 2017 to December, 2017, and data was analyzed by SPSS 22.0 software.
Of the 132 community health care providers who were under investigation, 70 knew about hospice care, but they rated their overall content on end-of-life care as inadequacy, especially in communication skills and knowledge of pain management. The average score of attitudes was 3.47 (SD = 0.44), the lowest score was in the subscale of nurse-patient communication, which was 2.91 (SD = 0.65). Health care providers who had worked for more than 11 years, who had experiences of the death of relatives or friends, and who had previous experiences of caring for terminal patients had more positive attitudes toward caring for the dying (P < .05 for all). There was a significant relationship between community health care providers’ attitudes toward death and their attitudes toward end-of-life care (r = -0.282, P < .01). The significant predictors of attitudes toward end-of-life care were attitudes toward death (ß = -0.342), experiences of the death of relatives (ß=-0.207), experiences of caring for the dying (ß = 0.185), and working experience (ß = 0.171).
Community health care providers had positive attitudes toward end-of-life care, but they lacked systematic and professional knowledge and skills of caring for the terminal patients. Education is the top priority. It is imperative to set up palliative care courses and life-death education courses, establish an indigenous end-of-life care model, and improve policies, systems, and laws to promote end-of-life care.
End-of-life care is an important nursing competency and must be incorporated into the baccalaureate nursing curriculum. The purpose of this research was to examine the outcomes of an actual hospice compared with a simulated hospice clinical experience. This pretest and posttest nonequivalent 2-group design consisted of a sample of 65 undergraduate nursing students enrolled in a community health course. All students enrolled in the community health course have 1 day for hospice experience and a 2-hour orientation from the nurse educator at a local hospice agency. Students enrolled in the first 7 weeks were paired with a hospice nurse and conducted home visits. Students enrolled in the second 7-week session participated in 2 simulated hospice clinical experiences on campus. Thirty-two students were in the simulated hospice group and 33 were in the home hospice group. Attitudes toward end-of-life care were measured before and after the intervention with the Frommelt Attitudes Toward Care of the Dying. The findings indicated positive attitude changes toward end-of-life care. After the hospice clinical experience, both groups seemed to show increases in their mean Frommelt Attitudes Toward Care of the Dying scores, possibly indicating a greater comfort with caring for dying patients.
OBJECTIVE: Advance care planning (ACP) assists people to identify their goals, values and treatment preferences for future care. Ideally, preferences are documented in an advance care directive (ACD) and used by doctors to guide medical decision-making should the patient subsequently lose their decision-making capacity. However, studies demonstrate that ACDs are not always adhered to by doctors in clinical practice. We aim to describe the attitudes and perspectives of doctors regarding ACD adherence and the utility of ACDs in clinical practice.
DESIGN: Face-to-face semistructured interviews were conducted using three case-based vignettes to explore doctors' decision-making and attitudes towards ACDs. Transcripts were analysed using a thematic analysis.
SETTING: Doctors from a variety of medical specialties and with varying experience levels were recruited from a large tertiary hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 21 doctors were interviewed, 48% female (10/21). Most (19/21) reported having experience using ACDs.
RESULTS: Four themes were identified: aligning with patient preferences (avoiding unwanted care, prioritising autonomy and anticipating family opposition), advocating best interests (defining futile care, relying on clinical judgement, rejecting unreasonable decisions and disregarding legal consequences), establishing validity (doubting rigour of the decision-making process, questioning patients' ability to understand treatment decisions, distrusting outdated preferences and seeking confirmation) and translating written preferences into practice (contextualising patient preferences, applying subjective terminology and prioritising emergency medical treatment).
CONCLUSIONS: ACDs provide doctors with opportunities to align patient preferences with treatment and uphold patient autonomy. However, doctors experience decisional conflict when attempting to adhere to ACDs in practice, especially when they believe that adhering to the ACD is not in the patients' best interests, or if they doubt the validity of the ACD. Future ACP programmes should consider approaches to improve the validity and applicability of ACDs. In addition, there is a need for ethical and legal education to support doctors' knowledge and confidence in ACP and enacting ACDs.
BACKGROUND: Goal setting is recognised as an important way of supporting people to live as actively as possible until death. However, there is little agreement about how goal setting should be handled or delivered by health professionals in everyday practice.
AIM: To investigate health-care practitioners' understanding and practice of patient-centred goal setting in a hospice.
METHODS: A comparative case study of 10 healthcare practitioners in one hospice. Non-participant observations (n=28), semi-structured interviews (n=10) and case-note analysis (n=67) were undertaken. Data were analysed using framework analysis.
RESULTS: Participants viewed goal setting as part of routine practice. However, goal setting focused around what was seen as important from the health practitioner's perspective, rather than being patient-centred. Participants' goal-setting practice was implicit and opportunities to support patients to pursue goals were missed. Participants emphasised problem solving and alleviating symptoms rather than focusing on patient priorities and establishing patient-centred goals.
CONCLUSION: While goal setting is valued, it is practiced in an implicit, practitioner-centred and inconsistent manner. A more explicit, person-centred goal setting process may support practitioners more consistently in helping patients to identify their priorities and enhance their quality of life.
AIMS: To assess the incidence of voluntary stopping of eating and drinking in long-term care and to gain insights into the attitudes of long-term care nurses about the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study.
METHODS: Heads of Swiss nursing homes (535; 34%) answered the Online-Survey between June and October 2017, which was evaluated using descriptive data analysis.
RESULTS: The incidence of patients who died in Swiss nursing homes by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking is 1.7% and 67.5% of participants consider this phenomenon highly relevant in their daily work. Most participants (64.2%) rate voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as a natural death accompanied by health professionals and patients are also granted the right to care (91.9%). This phenomenon is expected by the participants less at a young age and more in old age.
CONCLUSION: Participants' overall views on the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking are very positive, whereas it is assumed that voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is a phenomenon of old age. Professionals still lack sufficient knowledge about this phenomenon, which could be clarified through training. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/10358.
IMPACT: Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is much discussed interprofessional, but there is a lack of knowledge on how this is perceived in the context of long-term care and about the incidence of the phenomenon. Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is rare but noticeable end-of-life practises that is considered by professionals to be mainly dignified and peaceful, although moral concerns make it difficult to accompany. These findings call on long-term care institutions to discuss voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as an end-of-life practice. Positioning on the issue provides clarity for staff and patients and promotes to develop standardized care.
Background: Many nursing students are not prepared to encounter death and care for patients who are at the end of life as newly educated nurses. The Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of Dying Scale (FATCOD) has been used to assess nursing students' attitudes during their education and changes have been noted.
Objective: To examine nursing students' attitudes towards care of dying patients before and after a course in palliative care.
Design: A descriptive study with a pre and post design.
Settings & participants: Nursing students (n = 73) enrolled in a mandatory palliative course in the nursing programme at a Swedish university.
Methods: Data were collected before and after a palliative care course using FATCOD and qualitative open-ended questions. Data from FATCOD were analysed using descriptive and analytical statistics. The open-ended questions were analysed with qualitative content analysis.
Results: The students' mean scores showed a statistically significant change toward a more positive attitude toward care of dying. Students with the lowest pre-course scores showed the highest mean change. The qualitative analysis showed that the students had gained additional knowledge, deepened understanding, and increased feelings of security through the course.
Conclusions: A course in palliative care could help to change nursing students' attitudes towards care of patients who are dying and their relatives, in a positive direction. A course in palliative care is suggested to be mandatory in nursing education, and in addition to theoretical lectures include learning activities such as reflection in small groups, simulation training and taking care of the dead body.