THE CARES TOOL (by Kathrynn Thompson)

THE CARES TOOL (Compassionate Person-Centered Care for the Dying):


THE CARES TOOL (Compassionate Person-Centered Care for the Dying) is an evidenced based practice tool developed to enhance the end of life care given by the bedside nurse. This month I will continue my blog series on the CARES TOOL with a focus on emotional and spiritual care. This section focuses on the importance of humanity and the value of communication, active listening and presence. Spirituality is essential to holistic care and is evidenced in the values and ethics of all individuals.

Nursing interventions include:

  • Focus on caring for the soul
  • Be a supportive presence, compassionate and nonjudgmental
  • Know available resources and how to access them
  • Always work to maintain the patient’s dignity and feelings of worth
  • Be aware that individuals grieve differently
  • Use communication skills to ensure all parties are on the “same page”
  • Always refer back to the family, they should be the driving force
  • Never assume you know what the family wants, confirm with them directly
  • Provide information based on what family wants
  • Continue to clarify and follow individual goals of care
  • Maintain family’s privacy
  • Suggest family provide patient’s favorite music, food, etc.—anything that would be comforting
  • Support family rituals
  • Monitor family and encourage breaks
  • Acknowledge emotion, remember you can’t take the hurt away



All content comes directly from: Freeman, B. (2015). Compassionate Person-Centered Care for the Dying: An Evidence-Based Palliative Care Guide for Nurses. New York, New York: Springer Publishing Company, LLC