Palliative Care Education and Training Modules for Medical Professionals (doctors only)

Welcome! We feel passionately that doctors value their role in caring for the dying, and would benefit from targeted evidence-based education.

The modules have been designed as a group (of six) and while we would recommend using them sequentially, they will function independently.

It is hoped that the material will lead to discussion and sharing of clinical experiences; and so we encourage you to seek out peers, consultants and/or clinical teachers after completing the modules.

If you have any queries, concerns or comments please contact us:-
The Alfred Palliative Care Service: phone 03 9076 6970, fax 03 9076 6966

The authors, Drs Jennifer Weil, Jennifer Philip, Michelle Gold, Laila Rotstein and Shane McIver, gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Human Services in the development of this educational series.


Module 1: Communication 1
“Do you want the good news or the bad news?”

Good communication is central to everyday medical practice. Poor communication is frequently singled out as the major barrier to a ‘good death' and is the basis of many complaints.

The purpose of this module is to build on skills already developed, and provide a practical framework and useful tips.


Module 2: Communication 2
“Assessing and communicating goals of care”

Everyday we determine, communicate and negotiate goals of care and appropriate treatment limits. Yet often this important task is overlooked, poorly done, or delegated to junior or covering staff.

This module aims to alleviate some of the anxiety and misconceptions about goals of care discussions and ultimately debunk the myth that it's ‘all about the NFR'.


Module 3: Symptoms 1
“Pain - the essentials”

Unrelieved pain at the end of life is a frequently acknowledged fear, but also an unnecessarily common reality.

Pain can be readily managed in most cases with relatively simple techniques, which will be addressed in this module.


Module 4: Symptoms 2
“Other symptoms and emergencies in palliative care”

Pain and symptom management are uniformly considered important to patients at the end of their life. We all have an essential role in meeting this expectation; either through implementation of our own knowledge and skills, or by appropriate referral.

While this module is not intended to be an exhaustive review; it aims to provide a framework for symptom management.


Module 5: EOLC
“End of life care – principles and practice”

Most Australians die in acute hospitals and the majority receive end of life medical care from non-palliative care specialists.

This module draws from the knowledge and skills developed in the earlier modules to discuss and explore the medical role and responsibilities in the last days-weeks of life.


Module 6: Ethics ,
“Shades of grey in everyday medicine”

Everyday medicine and particularly the decision-making involved is far from ‘black and white'. Indeed for many it is these ‘shades of grey' that keeps us excited about clinical medicine.

Often there isn't a single right answer and legitimate differences of opinion exist. An ethical framework helps approach and consider these everyday challenges, and will be presented in this module.