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Veterans Administration Awards Contract to the City of Hope to Expand the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Program to Improve Palliative Care at U.S. Veterans Hospitals

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Press Release  
For Immediate Release

Veterans Administration Awards Contract to the City of Hope to Expand the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Program to Improve Palliative Care at U.S. Veterans Hospitals

DUARTE, CA, June 30, 2010 – The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded the City of Hope a three-year contract to educate nurses on how to provide better palliative care for Veterans with life-threatening illnesses. This work will be conducted through the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), a national nursing education initiative administered by the City of Hope and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

"We know nursing faculty play a major role in teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in end-of-life care. Many of the patients they see in clinical and community settings on a daily basis are Veterans. It is important that Veterans receive care in all settings including community hospitals, academic centers, cancer hospitals, home care and hospices, since only 4% of Veterans die in VA facilities. The ELNEC-For Veterans project hopes to also reach nurses in these community settings. It is vital that nursing faculty and students have an understanding of the unique needs of Veterans and their families toward the end of their lives. No other healthcare provider spends more time with these Veterans and their families than the nurse," explained nationally recognized palliative care expert Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, FAAN, FPCN, Principal Investigator for the ELNEC-For Veterans project and Professor, Nursing Research and Education at City of Hope. “The ELNEC-For Veterans project will be one component of a major initiative that the Department of Veterans Affairs has for improving the quality of care in the VA system,” said Ferrell.

More than 54,000 American Veterans – mostly from World War II and Korea -- die each month, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospice and Palliative Care Initiative (VAHPC) is trying to improve hospice and palliative care for them. Given that the number of Vietnam-era veterans over 65 will continue to grow through 2034, so too will the need for hospice and palliative care in the VA system.

During the three years of the ELNEC-For Veterans project, 600 nurse educators will enroll in national “train-the-trainer” courses. The expertise gained there promises to improve the quality of palliative care for thousands of veterans in 153 Department of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers across the U.S.

“Educating nurses to provide high quality care to Veterans begins with enhancing the expertise of nurse educators on how to best meet the healthcare needs of this distinct patient population,” said AACN President Kathleen Potempa, PhD, RN, FAAN. “AACN welcomes this opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues at the City of Hope and the VA to administer this critical faculty development initiative, which will improve palliative care services for America’s Veterans and their families.”

ELNEC was developed in 2000 after extensive research documented that most nurses did not receive adequate end-of-life care preparation during their basic education. Initially funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, ELNEC began as part of a national curriculum in nursing schools to improve end-of-life care. Within a decade, this train-the-trainer concept has grown exponentially. Over 11,000 nurses representing all 50 states and 65 countries have received ELNEC training which they share with colleagues in educational and clinical settings. In addition, trainers have traveled across six continents to instruct thousands of nurses and caregivers. ELNEC has been translated into 4 languages—Russian, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese. ELNEC also offers more specialized curricula for nurses working in critical care, pediatric, geriatric, and now – VA settings.

The ELNEC-For Veterans project is collaboratively administered by City of Hope, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in Washington, D.C., and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Co-investigator on this project is Pam Malloy, MN, RN, OCN, FPCN from AACN. For further information about this project, go to:

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The City of Hope is an innovative biomedical research, treatment and educational institution located just outside of Los Angeles. Designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is dedicated to the prevention and cure of cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases. The Center’s philosophy of Hope has inspired its health care experts to develop programs that focus on treating the whole person—their emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing—in addition to their physical care. It is this combination of patient-centered care, state-of-the-art treatment and groundbreaking research that has made City of Hope a leader in the fight against devastating diseases. Web site:

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 670 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.



Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231