What Are the Different Types of Palliative Care Courses?

Laura M. Sands

Among the different types of palliative care courses are those offered for original certification, as well as special courses for professionals in need of recertification. Doctors who offer specialized care in palliative settings may also choose to engage in immersion courses. Other palliative care courses are especially geared toward certifying psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Courses may be taken online, at a university or through other accredited palliation programs.

People often decide to become a palliative care specialist out of a desire to alleviate suffering in seriously ill or dying patients.
People often decide to become a palliative care specialist out of a desire to alleviate suffering in seriously ill or dying patients.

Often described as end-of-life care, palliative medicine is a unique type of healthcare catering to people with deadly chronic diseases for which there is no cure. This type of specialized care differs from other types of medical care in that the primary focus of doctors and nurses offering it is not to help people rebound from serious illnesses, but rather to help them and their loved ones face impending death. As such is a very sensitive matter in need of specialized attention and care, nurses and doctors in most parts of the world who work in this particular area of medicine are required to complete special palliative care courses.

Individuals who work directly with palliative care patients are usually required to be registered doctors or nurses.
Individuals who work directly with palliative care patients are usually required to be registered doctors or nurses.

While unlicensed people may work or volunteer to work in a hospice or another setting where palliative care is practiced, those working directly with patients are usually required to be licensed as a registered nurse or a doctor. In addition to the primary training for either of these professions, additional courses are generally required for a person to earn a certification for palliative care. Among some of the subjects covered during palliative care courses are planning for advanced care, pain management and communicating with families. Some courses may also offer training in holistic health care.

Although psychiatrists are also medical doctors, individuals working in this field usually must take palliative care courses that are geared toward mental health professionals. Some of the topics covered in these courses include the psychiatric and spiritual issues of dying from disease, as well as helping patients and families experience a peaceful death. Palliative courses and requirements differ according to what kinds of professionals the courses were designed for and the jurisdictions where they are offered.

Despite earning an initial certification, at different intervals throughout one's career, additional palliative care courses are often required to maintain certification or to become recertified after an original certification has lapsed. Some of these courses may be taken online. The number of hours required may also vary for these types of palliative care courses.

Some palliative care courses are focused on psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.
Some palliative care courses are focused on psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

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