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

Symptom Assessment and Management in Palliative Care (EPC Series) (EPCB00ODM21)


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)

Symptom Assessment and Management in Palliative Care is the second course in de Souza Institute’s comprehensive Education in Palliative Care (EPC) course series. The course series is built on the 2017 de Souza online course, Interprofessional Education in Palliative and End of Life Care – Oncology (iEPEC-O).

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 02 - Symptom Assessment and Management in Palliative Care

The Symptom Assessment and Management in Palliative Care course builds upon what you have learned in course 01 – the Palliative Approach to Care. This second course is divided into four modules and one case-based practice activity covering the focused assessment and management of four common symptoms experienced by patients in palliative care: pain, delirium, nausea and vomiting, and dyspnea. Although you can complete the course modules at your own pace, you must complete all 4 modules, the case-based practice activity, and the final quiz within five 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: 

  • Describe the principles of pain management using the WHO analgesic ladder.
  • Perform dosing calculations for switching the route of opioid administration, rotating opioids, and breakthrough opioid doses.
  • Identify the pathophysiological causes of pain, delirium, nausea and vomiting, and dyspnea in patients with serious illness.
  • Select appropriate screening and assessment tools and strategies for assessing the cause and severity of pain, delirium, nausea and vomiting, and dyspnea.
  • Identify appropriate pharmacological management strategies for the management of pain, delirium, nausea and vomiting, and dyspnea, and anticipate the adverse effects of these medications.
  • Identify non-pharmacological strategies for the management of these symptoms.
  • Explain the rationale use of antiemetics based on the symptom's underlying etiology and pathophysiology.
  • Explain the complexities of managing pain and other symptoms in a patient with renal disease and identify opioids and other medications that should be avoided in this patient population.
  • Teach family members how to care for a loved one experiencing these four symptoms.

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 5 weeks* after enrollment to complete all required activities.

*Course Duration
5 weeks
Fee (CAD)

To enroll in this course:


To purchase multiple courses:

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

Successful completion of the The Palliative Approach to Care (EPCA) course is required to register in this course.