The EPEC Project was initiated in 1997 through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in partnership with the AMA. The goal was to educate physicians on the essential clinical competencies in end-of-life care, and to allow them to teach their colleagues the curriculum. Now, the program has an interdisciplinary approach with physicians, nurses, social work, clergy, and other disciplines participating in the programs. The EPEC Curriculum combines didactic sessions, videotape presentations, interactive discussions and practical exercises in a clear and concise format. It consists of four plenary modules and fourteen modules, with topics ranging from Gaps in Palliative Care and Legal Issues to Communicating Bad News, Advance Care Planning, Psychosocial Issues, and the Last Hours of Living to name a few.
Danbury Hospital initiated an inpatient palliative care consult service in 2003. The CARES (Collaborative Approach to Relieve and Ease Symptoms) Program has seen over 1000 patients since the program began. The CARES Program was integrated into the Hospitalist Service earlier this year, with the goal of increasing the palliative care skills to its 22 providers. The Hospitalist service provides medical care to 96% of the medical patients in the hospital. Care is provided either through direct care or by consults with the surgical and orthopedic services. The Society of Hospital Medicine now includes Palliative Care as a core competency for all Hospitalists. It was also evident the nursing staff and other disciplines in the hospital were in need of further education on palliative and end-of-life care as well.
The suggestion of having The EPEC Project come to Danbury Hospital to present the Curriculum to our health system was supported by all departments in the institution and thought of as a way to improve the services and quality of care we provide to our patients. Providing the Curriculum will also foster a more interdisciplinary approach to patient care.
The EPEC Curriculum was presented over a two-day conference on September 20 and 21 in the Robilotti conference Center and the Creasy Auditorium. The speakers from Danbury Hospital’s Hospitalist Service were Dr. Damanjeet Chaubey, Dr. Joann Maroto-Soltis, and Karen Mulvihill APRN. The Hospitalist service was represented by 21 of its providers, with a total of 41 physicians and physician assistants. Also present were 23 registered nurses and Advance Practice Registered Nurses, 5 social workers, and 5 providers from physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Continuing education credit was provided to all disciplines.
The feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. The EPEC Curriculum Conference has provided Danbury Health Systems with opportunity to provide our patients with quality, interdisciplinary care throughout the course of their illnesses and across the continuum of care.
“Beneficial to anyone
“Conference supported the concept of teamwork.”
“This conference provided a broad based instruction of knowledge and awareness in patients faced with end-of-life experience.”
“Helps you better communicate with patients and families in a delicate situation.”