The Fundamentals of Palliative Care is a series of learning packages designed for any health care worker – registered and non-registered staff – who are caring for people with a palliative care need.

The programme was launched nationally in 2012, since that time regular reviews have occurred and in 2016 the Introduction to Spiritual Care package was added to the programme.  Each year around 10,000 people nationally take part in one or more of the packages.

There are ten learning packages in total covering a range of topics.  They are delivered throughout the country by each hospice service.   Participants can complete the full series of packages or individual packages if their are specific areas of interest.  It is suggested that all participants complete the Essence of Palliative Care as a good introduction to the unique philosophy and concepts that underpin palliative care practice.

Please contact your local hospice service for training opportunities in your area.

The ten packages across the Fundamentals cover:

ESSENCE OF PALLIATIVE CARE

This package is an important introduction to all packages. It defines palliative care and end of life care and discusses the palliative approach to care that is the underpinning philosophy of care for people with a life limiting condition.

ETHICAL ISSUES IN PALLIATIVE CARE

Ethical issues occur in end of life care, but with the right skills and decision making processes staff will be enabled to assist people, and families and whaˉnau, in the best way possible.

PAIN AND SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT

People with advanced disease may experience symptoms which will have a significant impact on their quality of life. In this session we will discuss the impeccable assessment of symptoms, careful planning and management of care, and on-going evaluation.

PALLIATIVE CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS

People live with advanced disease that impacts on their quality of life. In recent years there has been a greater recognition of the needs of people with chronic conditions other than cancer. This session looks at the challenges for people with advanced chronic illness and ways to improve their quality of life.

PALLIATIVE CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA

People may live with dementia for many years and the needs of these people require special attention and a palliative approach throughout their disease trajectory. Staff will learn skills in the holistic assessment of pain and symptoms in end stage dementia, how to minimise the burdens and strain experienced by family/carers and decision making skills in end of life care.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

We all communicate every day, but how often do we think about the impact that communication has on those around us? In this session we will explore how we communicate and what can cause challenges as we communicate with people, families and whānau and other members of the team.

LAST DAYS OF LIFE

Inevitably people will die and care provided during the last days and hours of life has profound effects on people, and their family and whānau and on the care team. We have only one chance to get it right, this session will assist staff in developing the skills to make those last hours result in more positive memories for family.

LOSS AND GRIEF

Although death is inevitable as a society we are still death denying. In our work we face death and grief often and the importance of the care we give at the end of life, and after death, will be explored during this session. We also look at our own grief and the importance of self care.

CARING FOR OURSELVES

Those in the caring professions are compassionate and caring individuals working with people who are suffering. Therefore, they are at risk of stress and burnout. This session is designed to provide staff with time to reflect on their wellness and look at ways to maintain it.

INTRODUCTION TO SPIRITUAL CARE

All staff have the potential to offer spiritual care. Each meeting with a person with a life limiting condition offers a chance to attend to the spiritual needs of that person; the need to be treated with dignity, the need to be “heard” and the need to have any spiritual distress noticed and addressed appropriately. This session is an introduction to how to meet the spiritual needs of the people for whom we care.

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