End of Life Issues and Care

The APA Office on AIDS has compiled information to help address the topic of end of life issues. Information provided includes end of life issues and care resources for people facing death or the death of a loved one due to declining health.

Education and Training

Internet-based Education on End of Life Issues
Earn up to 20 hours of continuing education credit at your convenience. Innovative online continuing education that focuses on end of life issues was developed by a team of leaders within the field. These online courses are now available. Courses include 10 modules that offer evidence-based information along with case examples, practical treatment tips, and numerous opportunities for applying lessons learned.

Policy and Advocacy

  • APA Resolution on End of Life Issues and Care
    APA, an organization committed to promoting the psychological well-being of individuals across the life span, is committed to actively promoting and supporting psychology's involvement in end of life care.

  • APA End of Life Policies and Congressional Briefing
    Presenters at APA's congressional briefing on end of life care spoke of the need for increased research funding, more attention to the needs of culturally diverse groups, more training for providers and access to mental health services so that the elderly, terminally ill and their loved ones may better cope with issues near the end of life.

  • APA Resolution on Assisted Suicide
    APA takes a position that neither endorses nor opposes assisted suicide at this time.

Featured APA Publications

  • General Fact Sheet on End of Life
    What are older adults' mental health needs near the end of life, what do older adults fear the most, are the what are the obstacles to a good death.

  • Culturally Diverse Communities and End of Life Care 
    Why is culture important, how does ethnicity influence advanced planning near the end of life, what are the barriers to communication, and what is the role of family.

  • Brochure on End of Life Issues and Care
    This brochure describes the quality of care and psychological involvement in decisions about caregivers, family involvement, wills, power of attorney and religious rituals.

  • End of Life & Socioeconomic Status Fact Sheet
    Research has elucidated several areas where SES appears to significantly affect end of life issues. Two such areas include the early detection of life-threatening illnesses and the quality of life for people diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.

APA Governance Reports

  • Report from the APA Working Group on Assisted Suicide and End of Life Decisions
    This working group was charged with examining the role of psychology in end of life decisions and quality of care issues; addressing the invisibility of psychology around the issue of end of life decisions and recommending methods to increase the visibility of psychology and the role of psychologists in this arena; and considering and making recommendations on whether it might be appropriate for APA to take a position on the issue of assisted suicide and end of life decisions.

  • Summary of Accomplishments and Final Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee On End of Life Issues (PDF, 1.99MB)
    A briefing paper on mental health issues involved in physician-assisted suicide and other end of life decisions created by the Ad Hoc Committee on End of Life Issues.

  • Report of the Children & Adolescents Task Force of the Ad Hoc Committee on End of Life Issues (PDF, 276KB)
    This report examines major causes and settings of death for children; what is known about effective mental health and psychosocial services provided to children and their families and the education of psychologists and other professionals who care for gravely ill or injured children; the state of knowledge about clinical, behavioral, cultural, organizational, legal, and other important aspects of palliative and end of life care for children and their families; recommendations for increasing the role and visibility of psychologists in multidisciplinary care for children, adolescents, and families faced with the end of life as well as other topics.