What you'll learn

  • Describe key issues and principles of pain management with opioids, including equianalgesic dosing, common side effects, addiction, tolerance, and dependence

  • 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

  • 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

  • Improve the access to quality palliative care for all people with serious illness regardless of setting, diagnosis, prognosis or age

Course description

This two-day course 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, spiritual and 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 and interdisciplinary team work and collaboration across disciplines. Other topics will include 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, and ethical, legal and policy-level challenges in serious illness. Recent research in palliative care will also be presented. 

This is an accredited, livestreamed course offered by the Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care. This course is targeted to physicians, nurses, social workers and other clinicians caring for patients with serious illnesses in a variety of practice settings.

Select the Take Course button to view additional information on the course registration page.

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