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Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Oncology (EPEC™-O)

Of the more than 1.4 million Americans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, many will fight the disease through treatments. Unfortunately, however, some of those patients will learn their disease is terminal, so treatment ends. But patient care is still needed.

To address health care providers’ training needs on end-of-life care, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) looked to the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) to create the Education on Palliative and End-of-life Care Oncology (EPEC™-O) CD-ROM and DVD.

Palliative care works to meet all needs of the terminally ill patient—physical, emotional and spiritual—and is provided concurrently with anti-cancer therapy and throughout the spectrum of the disease.

Originally created as a paper-based training program, palliative and end-of-life care training is in high demand, with the need far exceeding its availability. NCI recognized the need for a technology-based solution. Now, the electronic EPEC™-O training curriculum is a series of more than two dozen models containing case-study slides and videos targeted to any clinician who cares for end-of-life cancer patients.

The curriculum was first developed by the EPEC™ Project at Northwestern University’s medical college. NCI funded the project with supplemental financial support from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which works to encourage and motivate those affected by cancer.

The EPEC™-O CD-ROM and DVD present a comprehensive curriculum in palliative and end-of-life care in multimedia format developed specifically for clinicians caring for persons with cancer and for teachers of these clinicians. The media contain three plenary sessions, 15 content modules, and two teaching skills modules with accompanying video vignettes and materials for trainers. Free copies of the materials may ordered from the NCI.

An additional version addressing cultural considerations specific to American Indian and Alaskan Native populations is also available. The module discusses traditional tribal family structures, origins of mistrust of the Western medical model, traditional Indian medicine concepts, collaboration with traditional healers and cultural aspects relating to the dying process. Applicable cultural issues should be taken into consideration when learning and applying all modules on the CD-ROM.

You can learn more by downloading the EPEC™-O CD-ROM brochure from the NCI Web site. You will need the Adobe Reader to view this file. A free copy may be downloaded from the Adobe Web site.

Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Oncology (EPEC™-O)