Essentials of Palliative Care


Stanford School of Medicine


Course image for  Essentials of Palliative Care


This course starts you on your journey of integrating primary palliative care into your daily lives.  You will learn what palliative care is, how to communicate with patients, show empathy, and practice difficult conversations. You will learn how to screen for distress and provide psychosocial support. You will learn about goals of care and advance care planning and how to improve your success with having these conversations with patients.  Finally, you will explore important cultural considerations and improve your cultural competency on the topics covered.

For clinicians, the goal of this course is to help you incorporate primary palliative care into your daily practice or help you know when to seek a specialist.  We will help you improve your patient’s quality of life and provide self-care tips to help you maintain your own. For patients and caregivers, this course will empower you to talk to your provider and get palliative care, if necessary.

This course is available for CME credit.


The Stanford University School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Stanford University School of Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 11.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


The Stanford University School of Medicine adheres to ACCME Criteria, Standards and Policies regarding industry support of continuing medical education.  There are no relevant financial relationships with ACCME-defined commercial interests for anyone who was in control of the content of this activity.

What you will learn

  • Define the scope of palliative care and the roles of primary and specialist teams in comprehensive care for patients and families. 
  • Explain the components of an interdisciplinary patient treatment plan that includes physical, emotional, social and spiritual care.
  • Discuss basic strategies for addressing psychosocial and relationship concerns in the context of serious illness
  • Engage in goals of care and advance care planning discussions
  • Identify ways to manage stress and nurture one's physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing
This course is part of the Palliative Care Always Specialization and requires a Coursera subscription. The cost is $49 per month for as long as you are enrolled in the specialization.

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Delivery Option:
Online Course $49.00

This course may not currently be available to learners in some states and territories.