Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Shumaker, Shannon

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

DeLetter, Mary

Author's Keywords

Palliative care; screening process; palliative care screening tool; goals of care; intensive care unit; advanced care planning


Background: Palliative care is specialized care for individuals living with serious illness(s), focusing on providing symptom relief and improving quality of life (Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2020), but not all hospitals have a process to assess for palliative care needs.

Significance: Without a well-defined process for assessing patients’ readiness for palliative care, patients’ needs may not be consistently met. Approximately only 14% of people worldwide who need palliative care services receive this care (World Health Organization, 2020).

Purpose: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to implement a palliative care screening process to identify patients with palliative care needs and communicate findings to providers, providing access to palliative care services.

Methods: Twelve nurses were given the Nurses’ Palliative Care Perception questionnaire to rate several items related to palliative care screening and referral. Data were collected pre- and post-intervention. Nurses screened patients admitted to the unit using the Palliative Care Screening Tool (PCST) and communicated findings to the provider to increase access to palliative care.

Interventions: The focused intervention of this project was implementation of the PCST and the nurses’ follow-through communication process to providers.

Results: Mean scores assessed using the questionnaire showed a significant improvement from pre- to post-intervention. Communication rates of PCST scores from nurses to healthcare providers were 91%. Palliative care referrals increased by 20% during the intervention.

Conclusion: Implementing the PCST provided a process for communication among nurses and providers to discuss potential palliative care needs, and increased palliative care referral rates.

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Signed Title Page

Included in

Nursing Commons