Comfort is an essential concept related to end of life care. Webster’s (2004) defines comfort as “ freedom from pain, want, anxiety, encouragement or discomfort.” The aging process of the body brings about increasing discomfort (Malinowski & Staimler, 2002). At the start of the 21st century, the oldest of America’s 76 million baby boomers are in their mid 50s and the youngest are approaching age 40 (CMS, 2004). As advances in medical technology continue to extend life, these aging Americans will have to contend with the aches, pains and progressive disabilities of chronic illness. The need for specialized palliative care to improve comfort and quality of life for this population is prolific. Using Katherine Kolcaba’s, Comfort Theory, the purpose of this research is to explore the role of the nurse practitioner in end of life care. A computer search was conducted through CINAHL, MEDLINE, and COCHRANE library resulting in 2875 articles pertaining to the nurse practitioner’s role in end of life care. Key findings from the systematic review of data-based and theory-based literature were compared with current practice guidelines, resulting in a number of best practice recommendations and implications for future research.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Sandra Kirkland

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons