Courses Catalogue

Palliative Care

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Clinical Medicine and Community Health, Diploma
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Allied Health Sciences
PROGRAMME TYPE: Undergraduate

Course Description

This is a theoretical and practical course that deals with specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stresses of a serious illness- whatever the prognosis.

Course justification/rationale
Over 20 million people require palliative care per year and highest proportion (78%) of adults needing palliative care resides in low or middle-income countries (WHO, 2014).This is due to the escalation of non-communicable diseases in addition to the burden of HIV/AIDS. In May 2014 the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed a seminal resolution recognizing palliative care as a requisite component of health services worldwide. Integration of palliative care into basic and continuing education training for health professionals was identified as a critical factor for the successful implementation of this resolution worldwide.

Course aim
To improve quality of life for both the patient and the family in palliative care settings

Course learning outcomes
By the end of the course, DCM graduates should be able to;
a)      Define and discuss the philosophy of palliative care including the concept of total pain, mechanisms of pain/pain syndromes, pain assessment
b)      Demonstrate ability to apply the  non-pharmacological and pharmacological management of pain including three steps of the analgesic ladder, use of adjuvant drugs and role of morphine in pain control
c)      Manage common symptoms seen in a palliative care setting based on the pathophysiological basis of the symptom.
d)     Apply  general principles in looking after a dying patient, prescribing relevant to the end of life/ euthanasia and use ethical principles to help make decisions about patient care in a palliative setting
e)      Describe appropriate decision making and management of emergencies in a palliative care setting
f)       Communicate effectively with patients and their families in a clinical setting especially when breaking bad news and respond appropriately to reactions of patients and families