Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

EPEC: Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Emergency Medicine

Education in Palliative and 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. Linda Emanuel, MD, PhD, is principal investigator and Tammie Quest, MD, is the co-investigator and project director. This project is supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Educational topics include:

Emergency clinicians are taught:

Curriculum Format

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 in the Emergency Medicine curriculum include:

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

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.


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Curricula Materials

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