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Palliative care is the unique way caregivers think, respond, and act as they give skilled and compassionate care to a dying person and the support system of that person.  This course begins by helping each nurse understand their own personal and cultural perceptions of death and palliation by reflecting on their experiences with dying people.  After exploring the concept of a Palliative Approach each participant will gain specific and current knowledge about symptom assessment and management, and how to deal with selected palliative emergency situations.  Particularly unique aspects of caring for the dying, e.g, family care, communication, grief, and self-care will be explored.

Most aging people use medication (prescription or over-the-counter) to treat a variety of chronic or symptomatic problems. This course seeks to define the nursing role in medication management with aging clients or patients. An understanding of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics related to the aging body will assist the gerontological nurse in understanding drug reactions. Reasons for drug misuse and abuse will be explored and strategies developed to improve drug regime compliance. High risk medications and polypharmacy will be discussed. Tools to assist with medication profile analysis will be presented.

Mental decline is not synonymous with old age. Mental health may be negatively affected by particular mental illnesses, by depression, by stress and poor adaptability, or by medical factors. Mental wellness and brain health can be boosted by timely assessment and diagnosis with appropriate treatment, education or social support. This course will explore vulnerabilities that predispose older adults to mental distress or illness with a focus on stabilizing and improving ability to problem-solve, improving ability to sound personal decisions, and maintaining personal integrity and dignity.