de Souza Institute
Categories: Nursing, Interprofessional, Oncology, Palliative, Primary Care

The Palliative Approach to Care (EPC Series) (EPCA00ODM21)


None - Self Directed Learning.   Development was led by (in last name alphabetical order): Susan Blacker, MSW, RSW, Paul Daeninck, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Cathy Kiteley, APN, RN, MScN, CON(C), CHPCN(C) and Judy Simpson, RN, BN, MEd, CHPCN(C)

The Palliative Approach to Care is the foundational course in de Souza Institute’s comprehensive course series Education in Palliative Care (EPC). The course series is built on the 2017 de Souza online palliative care course, iEPEC-O for Oncology.  

About the EPC Course Series 

The EPC course series consists of three courses that teach a comprehensive curriculum in palliative and end-of-life care: 

  • Course 01 - The Palliative Approach to Care (EPC Series)
  • Course 02 - Symptom Assessment and Management in Palliative Care (EPC Series)
  • Course 03 - End-of-Life Care, Grief, and Loss (EPC Series) 

These three courses cover a wide-range of competencies in providing person-centered care for patients living with serious illness such as cancer, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Completing all three courses in the series will earn you the de Souza Certificate in Palliative and End-of-Life Care. 

Course 01 - The Palliative Approach to Care 

The Palliative Approach to Care course is divided into three sections with ten modules in total. The first course section, Serious Illness Conversations, teaches the foundational concepts key to the palliative approach to care. These first modules teach in-depth strategies for how to have difficult conversations with patients regarding prognosis, life-expectancy, goals of care, and advance care planning. The second section, Comprehensive Pain and Symptom Assessment, introduces you to pain and symptom assessment from a holistic and patient-centred approach. The third section, Person and Family-centred Palliative Care, explores working with the patient and their caregivers as the unit of care and resolving potential conflicts around care decisions.  

Although you can complete the course modules at your own pace, you must complete the course, in its entirety, within seven weeks of the course start date (this date can be found on the course information page in My Account).

Course Syllabus

By the end of this course, you will be able to: 

  • Define the palliative approach to care and describe the role of palliative care in comprehensive care for serious illness. 
  • Apply the elements of effective patient-centred communication to serious illness conversations. 
  • Describe the important clinical outcomes of goals of care conversations and identify strategies for having productive goals of care discussions with patients and substitute decision-makers. 
  • Use appropriate prognostication tools and strategies to discuss life expectancy with the patient and family. 
  • Describe how the concept of suffering and "Total Pain" affects a comprehensive pain and symptom assessment and identify appropriate symptom assessment tools for patients with serious illness.  
  • Apply best practices to planning and conducting a family meeting and reflect on factors that influence how an individual family copes with serious illness and caregiving responsibilities.  
  • Apply a person-centred approach involving the interprofessional team, patients, and families in addressing challenges and conflicts in palliative care and end-of-life care decisions.  
  • Identify opportunities to enhance culturally sensitive care for patients and families.

Course Syllabus: View the course syllabus


This course promotes an interprofessional team based approach and is designed for any health professional caring for palliative and end of life care patients. 

Funding Opportunities: Please click HERE for more details.

Group pricing is available when you have 3 or more courses or participants. Click HERE for more details.

Payment must be received before you have access to the course. For more information, please visit our Cancellation & No Show Policy.

Participants can pay for this course online with a credit card, or send a cheque to:

de Souza Institute
c/o The Michener Institute of Education
222 St. Patrick Street, Office 503
Toronto, ON   M5T 1V4

You will immediately gain access to the course materials and have 7 weeks* after enrollment to complete all required activities.

*Course Duration
7 weeks
Fee (CAD)

To enroll in this course:


To purchase multiple courses:

Learning Hours
de Souza Designation Credits
0.5 credits under Therapeutic and Supportive Relationships

It is highly recommended that participants that do not have palliative care experience take the course “Introduction to Hospice Palliative Care” first before registering in this course.