The United States has 1332 critical access hospitals. These hospitals have fewer than 25 beds each and a mean daily census of 4.2 patients. Critical access hospitals are located in rural areas and provide acute inpatient services, ambulatory care, labor and delivery services, and general surgery. Some, but not all, critical access hospitals offer home care services; a few have palliative care programs. Because of the millions of patients living with serious and life-threatening conditions, the need for palliative care is increasing. As expert generalists, rural nurses are well positioned to provide care close to home for patients of all ages and the patients’ families. A case report illustrates the role that nurses and critical access hospitals play in meeting the need for high-quality palliative care in rural settings. Working together, rural nurses and their urban nursing colleagues can provide palliative care across all health care settings.

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