Institute for Palliative and End of Life Care


Improved understanding and utilization of palliative care will foster optimum quality of life – physical, psychosocial and spiritual - in the presence of serious illness and the final stages of life.

— Pierre Tielhard de Chardin

"We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey."


Marquette College of Nursing’s Institute for Palliative and End of Life Care (IPEOLC) aims to change the status of palliative, serious illness, and end-of-life care and education.


The IPEOLC contributes to improvements in palliative and serious illness care through its education, research, clinical, interprofessional, and community activities. In accordance with the Jesuit educational principle, "Care for the Whole Person," the IPEOLC educates students, clinicians from multiple disciplines and the public about palliative care. It promotes research and quality initiatives and serves as a resource for information with the aim of further improving this vital area of care.

Palliative Care and Hospice

Palliative care is specialized care for individuals with serious illness that aims to relieve pain, stress, and other symptoms of the illness to improve quality of life for an individual and their family. Palliative care an extra layer of support provided best by a health care team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who focus on the individual’s health care needs as well as their wishes and goals. Palliative care can be provided in many health care settings. It is appropriate for a person at any age or any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided along with curative-focused treatment.

Hospice care is care provided by an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and other team members (including chaplain, volunteer, and bereavement services) for individuals with advanced, serious, terminal illness whose goals are for supportive care.  Its focus is on quality of life of the individual and their family. It addresses the individual’s physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs. Hospice care can be provided in a variety of settings.

History of Marquette IPEOLC/Aurora Visiting Nurses Association

In 2003, Marquette College of Nursing Institute for End-of-Life Care Education and the Aurora Visiting Nurses Association (part of Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee) formed a unique partnership to advance the quality of end-of-life care, working together to forge new initiatives in care, education and services. In 2012, it was renamed the Institute for Palliative and End of Life Care (IPEOLC).

Thank you for your interest in the IPEOLC.

Upcoming Event


2022 James Wake Memorial Lecture
Grief and Grieving Through a Multi-Disciplinary Lens by Mary-Frances O’Connor
Nov. 9, 2022, 4:00 – 5:30pm, to be held virtually via Zoom

On behalf of the Wake Lecture 2022 Planning Committee and the Institute for Palliative and End of Life Care, we are pleased to announce this year’s James Wake Memorial Lecture and associated events will be happening in November. Add to your calendars, register, and begin sharing the information with others who may be interested (students, colleagues, friends).   

The Wake Lecture is held biennially in memory of James Wake, the late husband of the Marquette University Raynor Chair, Professor, and former College of Nursing dean and University Provost, Dr. Madeline Wake. James Wake devoted his career to helping others through social work, chaplaincy, and end-of-life ministry.

Click HERE to sign up. 

Grief and Loss Healing Ceremony 
Nov. 10, 2022, 4:00-5:30pm, held in person at Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union, 3rd Floor Ballrooms

People experienced a wide variety of losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. To facilitate individual and collective healing, the College of Nursing welcomes you to participate in a grief and loss healing ceremony, held in conjunction with the 2022 James Wake Memorial Lecture about grief. This interfaith, multicultural healing ceremony will include poetry, music, readings, and prayers as well as opportunities for self-reflection and sharing. It will be followed by a reception with healing foods.

Click HERE to sign up.

Contact Information

Please contact us by email or phone with your questions or comments.

Susan Breakwell, PHNA-BC, D.N.P.
Institute for Palliative and End of Life Care
Marquette University
College of Nursing
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

(414) 288-3800

Send an email to the Institute for Palliative and End of Life Care