Practical Aspects of Palliative Care (PAPC)

Course overview

Course description

This two-day in-person course (with a virtual option) is designed to offer physicians, nurses, social workers and other clinicians the information and skills needed to provide high quality palliative care to patients with serious illnesses in a variety of practice settings. It addresses the assessment and management of current challenges in palliative care, including the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual/existential sources of suffering experienced by patients and their families. Through plenary sessions and small breakout groups, participants will develop a toolbox of palliative care competencies and will learn from colleagues facing similar practice challenges.

Sessions will focus on:

  • Pain and symptom management
  • Serious illness communication skills
  • Interdisciplinary team work and collaboration across disciplines
  • Prognostication
  • Bereavement
  • Special needs of patients at various stages of the life cycle
  • Cultural, religious and spiritual beliefs and practices towards the end of life
  • Ethical, legal, and policy-level challenges in serious illness
  • Recent research in palliative care

Learning formats

Interactive learning formats include: Q&A, panel presentations, breakout sessions, and case based discussions .

The course is designed to change both learner competence and performance in practice for primary and specialty palliative care practitioners.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Assess and manage physical, psychological, social, and spiritual/existential sources of suffering for patients and their families dealing with serious illnesses or towards the end of life
  • Develop practical strategies for discussing patient fears, hopes, goals, and wishes for care in the face of serious illness and at the end of life, including balancing hope and honesty in discussing treatment options and dealing with the ethical, psychosocial and spiritual issues that arise
  • Improve the access to quality palliative care for all people with serious illness regardless of setting, diagnosis, prognosis or age 
  • Describe key issues and principles of pain management with opioids, including equianalgesic dosing, common side effects, addiction, tolerance, and dependence

Who should attend?

Physicians, nurses, social workers, and allied health professionals who work with patients and families with serious illness or near the end of life.