Virtual Course on Fundamentals of Palliative Care

Course purpose

The purpose of the course is to provide a basic introduction to the fundamentals of palliative care practice for clinical and non-clinical healthcare leaders and staff. By completing this virtual course, participants will have acquired knowledge about the modern definition of palliative care, and the basic principles that guide the evaluation and management of multidimensional suffering in patients with serious illness.

Learning objectives:

Main objective

Improve access to basic palliative care services in region via dissemination of the fundamentals of up-to-date, evidence-based palliative care practice to clinical and non-clinical healthcare staff.

Specific objectives

  • Understand the history and current state of palliative care around the world
  • Articulate a modern definition of the scope and mission of palliative care practice
  • Understanding the basic principles of evaluation and management of pain
  • Understand the basic principles of evaluation and management of other common physical symptoms (dyspnea, nausea, poor appetite and mood disorders)
  • Recognize the role of psychosocial and spiritual support within palliative care practice
  • Understand the ethical principles that guide palliative care practice
  • Recognize basic principles of effective patient-provider communication within the context of palliative care
  • Apply the multidimensional skills of high-quality palliative care practice to the specific scenario of caring for dying patient and their family
  • Recognize the unique risk of burnout within palliative care providers, and highlight best practices to maximize resiliency


This course is aimed to:

  • Primary care doctors and other general practitioners
  • Non-palliative care specialists (oncologist, cardiologists, intensivist, etc.)
  • Nurses
  • Public health officials and ministry of health leaders
  • Other allied professionals who regularly care for patients with patients with serious illness

Educational approach

The course is divided into 10 separate modules, with each including a short introductory video, core content delivered through informational slides, and reference list to support further learning. Finally, each section will end with an objective assessment to help highlight key teaching points.

Duration / Workload

The course is open and available in the VCPH. As it is a self-learning course, participants can regulate their times and moments of dedication. When including the estimated time to complete the modules and the Final Evaluation, the Course is assigned a total of 5 hours.

Course Structure

  • Introduction to Palliative Care
  • Pain Part 1
  • Pain Part 2
  • Non-Pain Symptoms Part 1
  • Non-Pain Symptoms Part 2
  • Psychosocial and Spiritual Support
  • Ethics in Palliative Care
  • Communication Skills
  • End-of-Life Care
  • Resiliency and Self-Care
Last update: 05/Apr/2024