We are excited to have you join our community of participants interested in improving quality of life for patients and families experiencing serious illness.
Palliative care can help ease suffering and improve wellbeing in people living with serious illnesses such as cancer.
Palliative Care Always is an online, case-based course for health care practitioners who work in cancer care. We believe that incorporating the principles of palliative care—symptom management, goals of care and effective communication—into clinical practice can improve the quality of life for our patients and their support systems. We also believe palliative medicine can improve quality of life for clinicians. We’ve designed this course to educate you about palliative medicine and how it integrates with oncology, and to help you develop primary palliative care skills. Our hope is that you feel increasingly equipped to support the diverse needs of your patients and your own needs as a healthcare provider.
Palliative Care Always features presentations from a variety of Stanford palliative medicine clinicians as well as video scenes with a fictional patient experiencing colon cancer. The course also includes interactive discussions with other participants to learn from role play and practical experiences.
By the end of the course clinicians will be able to:
This course is ideal for nurses, social workers, oncologists, patients and families. No prior experience with palliative medicine or cancer care is necessary.
This course was developed by faculty members in Palliative Medicine at the Stanford Health Care. Your course moderator is Erika Tribett, MPH.
Kavitha Ramchandran MD, graduated with an undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, did medical school and residency training in medicine at University of California, San Francisco and completed her fellowship in Medical Oncology and Palliative Medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago. She joined faculty at Stanford University in 2007. Currently she is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Oncology and Division of General Medical Disciplines.
Contributing faculty include:
The course is a series of twelve modules. Each module will introduce you to a specific aspect of palliative medicine—from effective communication and symptom management to addressing goals of care and specific types of distress. You will learn tips and tools to help you screen for palliative needs and offer basic palliative care.
Module 1: Introduction to Palliative Care
Module 2: Communicating with Families and Patients
Module 3: Psychosocial Support
Module 4: Goals of Care
Module 5: Pain Assessment and Management
Module 6: Nausea and Fatigue Management
Module 7: Survivorship
Module 8: Spiritual Care
Module 9: Psychological Support
Module 10: Child Social Support
Module 11: Hospice Care
Module 12: Reflection
Each module consists of four main sections:
Each week, faculty will post a video that answers your questions and discusses current issues related to the week's topic. Questions may be submitted Wednesday through Sunday, and videos will be posted by Tuesday of the following week.
Each module will close with a discussion session with a small group of your peers. The goal is to practice and reflect on the skills you’ve picked up during each module and learn from others in the course. Each discussion will last approximately 45 minutes. The platform we will use for online discussions is called Talkabout. In order to access Talkabout, you will need to make sure your computer is set up to use Google Hangout. Please follow the instructions here to load and join Talkabout.
If you prefer not to use Talkabout, you can complete these discussions in person or in another manner of your choice. In order to receive credit for these discussion sessions, you will need to submit a 100-word response that reflects on your experience. The free response is located in the "Talkabout Discussion" section of each module.
It varies, as some of the modules contain more content than others. In general, you should expect to spend between 2 and 3 hours on Palliative Care Always each week. This accounts for light reading, watching videos, answering assessment questions and participating in interactive discussions.
Yes. To receive a "Statement of Accomplishment" for this course (i.e., a passing grade), you must receive a score of at least 75%.
For those who are interested in a Statement of Accomplishment, grades include completion of Assessment questions throughout all 12 modules (50%), submission of reflection posts on the course discussion forum (25%), and participation in interactive discussion sessions (25%). Of course, you are welcome to do only the components of the course you are interested in, if the grade doesn't matter to you.