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Emergency Medicine

Education in Palliative & End-of-Life Care for Emergency Medicine (EPEC - Emergency Medicine) teaches the essential clinical competencies in palliative care to professionals who work in the emergency department (ED). This curriculum was written and edited by emergency physicians and nurse educators with the goal of addressing issues that are specific to the practice of emergency medicine. Tammie Quest, MD, is the program  director. The program was created with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Educational topics include:

  • Quick steps for performing a rapid palliative care assessment in the ED
  • Formulation of trajectories and prognoses
  • Care of hospice patients, patients who have cancer and patients who experience chronic pain
  • Family-witnessed resuscitation

Emergency clinicians are taught:

  • How, when and why to contact hospice or a primary care provider
  • How to communicate bad news to patients and families
  • How to assess patients for psychological, spiritual and social needs
  • Techniques for teaching palliative care to other emergency practitioners


EPEC - Emergency Medicine is a high-impact, conference-based education dissemination project that utilizes the train-the-trainer model developed in the original EPEC. Conference participants learn palliative and end-of-life care skills and principles and are also trained in teaching techniques that will allow them to train colleagues and students at their home institutions.

One goal of EPEC - Emergency Medicine is to work with the directors of emergency medicine residency programs to ensure that physicians-in-training are exposed to the core principles of palliative and end-of-life care so that they will have the skills and knowledge necessary to care for patients they will encounter in the ED.

The workshop sessions are taught by physicians, nurses, lawyers and chaplains who have experience in emergency medicine and palliative care.

Topics Covered

  • Trajectories & Prognoses
  • Rapid Palliative Care Assessment
  • Goals of Care
  • Caring for Hospice Patients
  • Conflict Management
  • Cultural Considerations
  • Spirituality
  • Grief and Bereavement
  • Withdrawing & Withholding
  • Family-Witnessed Resuscitation
  • Breaking Bad News
  • Common Symptoms
  • Chronic Pain
  • Malignant Pain
  • Complications of Cancer
  • Last Hours of Living


The EPEC-EM curriculum material is presented in 14 modules and three plenaries that incorporate the use of slides and videos. The curricula material on a USB and DVD trigger videos are available for purchase.

Purchase Materials 

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