Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA)

Geriatric Activities

Publications and Position Statemenets
Presentations, Workshops, and Seminars
Special Interest Groups
Education Modules, Programs, and Learning Tools

Publications and Position Statements

  • Published articles dealing directly and indirectly with the elderly population in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing
  • Collaborated with the Johns Hopkins Leadership Academy on End of Life Nursing and connected with 44 nursing organizations to write articles and review position statements
  • Published three position statements in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing (JHPN) dealing with geriatric issues, including:
    • Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in End-of-life Care
    • Pain
    • Providing Opioids at the End of Life
  • Published four other position statements in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing (JHPN) that did not specifically include geriatric issues but that address issues important to care of the elderly, including:
    • Evidence-based Practice
    • Palliative Sedation at End of Life
    • Value of Nursing Certification
    • Value of the Professional Nurse in End-of-Life Care
    • Role of the Nursing Assistant in End-of-life Care
  • Published patient and family teaching sheets on the following topics:
    • Managing Pain
    • Managing Anxiety
    • Food and Fluid Issues at End of Life
    • Final Days
    • Managing Restlessness
    • Managing Constipation
    • Managing Nausea and Vomiting
    • Managing Shortness of Breath
    • Hospice and Palliative Care

Presentations, Workshops, and Seminars

  • Presented a session focused on a geriatric topic at the 2004 annual HPNA clinical conference.
  • Conduct a geriatric Webconference focused on a topic recommended by the geriatric special interest group (SIG).
  • Held monthly Web-teleconferences for registered nurses. The conferences have occurred since January 2002, and many of the topics are directly related to elderly patients. Transcripts of previously aired web-teleconferences are available on the HPNA Web sites for HPNA members to use for continuing education. Geriatric-specific teleconferences held in 2004 and planned for 2005 include:
    • Pain Management in Special Populations (2004)
    • Changes of Aging (2004)
    • Dementia Pain Assessment (2005)
    • Advanced Care Planning (2005)
    • Polypharmacy in the Elderly (2005)
    • Managing Delirium in the Geriatric Oncology Patient (2005)
  • Sponsored a geriatric workshop at the 2004 AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly on "An Interdisciplinary Approach to Geriatric Polypharmacy." The workshop is a panel discussion on the impact that polypharmacy has on the elderly and methods of combating it. The panel includes a nurse, physician, social worker, and pharmacist.
  • Sponsor preconference workshops at the 2005 AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly. The workshops will focus on the special needs of the elderly at the end of life and will be presented by the HPNA geriatric special interest group and other team members. Topics include:
    • Charting the Course for Enhanced End-of-Life Dementia Care
    • Hospice and Palliative Care in Alternative Settings
    • Pharmacotherapeutic Management of Pain and Symptoms at the End of Life
  • Offered the HPNA Speakers' Bureau as a service for individuals desiring speakers on hospice and palliative nursing issues. Each speaker is approved for one or two topics. Several of the speaker topics speak directly to geriatric issues; most of the others are very relevant to geriatric care at the end of life.

Special Interest Groups

  • Developed a special interest group (SIG) in geriatrics in 2003. SIG members are encouraged to submit articles to the HPNA quarterly journal and newsletters and define educational needs for those caring for the elderly. The SIG began with an email list and has evolved into an actual listserv and a geriatric forum on the HPNA Web site.

Education Modules, Programs, and Learning Tools

  • Developed a Long-term Care Ambassadors program. Ambassadors are responsible for contacting assigned long-term care facilities to offer their services as a resource and promote communication regarding HPNA products and services.
  • Placed transcripts of previously aired HPNA Web-teleconferences on the HPNA Web site for nurses to use for continuing education and CE credits.
  • Developed a two-day "End-of-Life Nursing Education Curriculum (ELNEC)" education program for hospice and palliative nurses covering nine modules of end-of-life content. The program will be offered in nine cities across the United States from 2004 to 2006.


  • Offer a Nurse Competence in Aging Award.
    Congratulations to NCA Award Winner: Judy Orth, RN, C, BSN, MA, CHPN

For more information about HPNA Geriatric Activities please contact: Dena Jean Sutermaster, RN, MSN, CHPN
Director of Education/Research
Nurse Competence in Aging Web Fellow
Email: denajeans@hpna.org