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Palliative Care: For General Nurses

  • : Brisbane QLD 4001


‘A Palliative Approach’, Assessment Skills, Communicating with a Dying Person, Physical Symptom Control, Spiritual Care, Grief and Loss, Advanced Care Directives and much, much more...



As world leaders in providing Palliative Care, all nurses in Australia, across many varied clinical settings must be have up to date knowledge on how to provide evidence-based care people who may need to transition to, or who may already be receiving palliative care. Attend this seminar and find out:

  • What skills are needed to perform a palliative nursing assessment?
  • How do you comfortably communicate with a person who is dying?
  • What does it mean to involve a family in palliative care?
  • How are physical symptoms such as pain, breathlessness, nausea, vomiting, constipation and delirium best controlled?
  • What role do Advanced Care Directives and End of Life Care Pathways have?
  • What psychosocial care of a person best addresses a person’s emotional and spiritual needs?
  • How can ethical issues such as withdrawal of treatment and artificial nutrition and hydration be discussed?

Gain knowledge and apply it to your practice immediately. Book now!


Need for Program

A palliative approach to care is a relatively new phenomenon that has had a significant and positive impact on the quality of life of people suffering from untreatable illness. Although palliative care is now an established nursing and medical speciality, it is likely that there are still many nurses who have never had formal education on this topic. A two day condensed program that delivers information about palliative care to experienced nurses will fill a gap in knowledge that could significantly enhance care.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this program is to offer nurses who work in a range of settings an opportunity to extend their knowledge in regard to palliative nursing care. A review of basic principles underpinning palliative care practice, including advanced concepts relating to assessment and management of physical and psychosocial symptoms will be able to be immediately translated to practice.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this program it is expected that the participants will be able to:

  • Apply evidence-based principles of modern palliative care to a thorough palliative nursing assessment of a patient who is dying
  • Integrate knowledge of pathophysiology and symptom management with person-centred and holistic care within relevant legal and ethical frameworks
  • Improve ability to comfortably communicate with a dying person and their family
  • Demonstrate an understanding that palliative/end-of-life nursing is a combination of evidence-based science, highly developed interpersonal skills, and the therapeutic use of self.
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Palliative Care - An Introduction

    This topic briefly outlines the historical background of the modern hospice movement, which has evolved into the nursing and medical specialty of palliative care. It also addresses the need for the application of a ‘palliative approach’ by those caring for people with life-limiting conditions in non-specialist settings. Includes:

    • Brief historical overview
    • Palliative care nursing – definitions, aims, principles
    • Settings for palliative care
    • Specialist palliative care or just a palliative approach?
    • Resources for non-specialist health care professionals


    Palliative Nursing Assessment

    It has long been acknowledged that assessment is the cornerstone of nursing practice. This topic describes the very special combination of skills required to recognise the complex needs of dying people, and to respond holistically to concurrent problems in the person’s physical, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions. Includes:

    • Skills required for palliative assessment
    • Assessing all dimensions of the palliative patient
    • Impeccable symptom assessment
    • The importance of ongoing assessment

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Communicating Comfortably and Effectively with Dying People

    The provision of safe, therapeutic care to dying people relies on sensitive and appropriate communication during all aspects of the continuum of care. No matter how skilful we are at clinical assessment, we can never underestimate the importance of communication in palliative care – especially because ‘big’ emotions are almost always involved.


    This session outlines a range of communication strategies that may contribute to calming and reassuring dying people and their families. Includes:

    • Feeling comfortable when talking about death
    • Using communication to relate to the person with empathy, honesty and compassion
    • Communication during the 'difficult' moments
    • When silence is golden...


    Working with Families

    A key palliative care principle indicates that the family is THE 'unit of care'. This principle is examined in this short session. It will consider:

    • Benefits of including family in the initial assessment and ongoing care
    • Problems encountered when working with families
    • Includes a short group exercise and discussion

    12:30pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    Symptom Control 1 – Physical Symptoms

    The remainder of today will involve an essential aspect of good palliative care – physical symptom management. Using an evidence-based framework you will discover assessment and management principles underpinning a number of physical symptoms commonly experienced by those with life-limiting conditions. This includes:

    • Pain assessment and management
      • Includes notion of intractable/refractory pain and suffering
      • Trends in opioid use
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Constipation
    • Breathlessness
    • Oral problems
    • Delirium (and terminal restlessness)

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Symptom Control 1 - Physical Symptoms Continued

    4:00pm - Close of Day One of Program

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Symptom Control 2 - Psychological Symptoms

    This interactive session uses a number of questions to demonstrate how holistic palliative care extends beyond dealing with physical symptoms. It will reveal how a consideration of psychological and ‘existential’ distress – symptoms commonly observed in palliative care – can be identified and addressed.


    Attending to the Spiritual Dimensions of a Person

    Recognising and addressing the spiritual needs of dying people is integral to good palliative care, but this key aspect of care is often poorly understood and even neglected by professional carers. This session looks at a number of strategies that nurses can draw on to assist those demonstrating signs of spiritual/existential distress during the palliative journey. Includes:

    • Spiritual care as an integral component of palliative care
    • Spiritual care as a key nursing role
    • Strategies for providing spiritual care
    • Other challenges and concerns

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Grief, Loss and Overwhelming Sadness

    There is a slowly emerging body of evidence relating to what comprises ‘normal’ versus ‘complicated’ grief reactions. This session will examine normal grief reactions and then examine how more complicated grief reactions may manifest. Includes:

    • Review of normal grieving process
    • Early indications of complicated grief and the long-term ramifications
    • Current research trends in identifying and addressing complicated grief

    12:30pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    Pressing Ethical Considerations - What All Nurses Should Know

    A clinical decision may be ethical but not legal, or vice versa. In this session you will examine the sometimes complex (and not always aligned) interface between legal, medical and nursing ethics. There will be a consideration of a number of ethical issues pertinent to the practice of palliative care in today’s healthcare environment, including:

    • Withdrawal of treatments
    • The right to refuse treatment
    • Nutrition and hydration dilemmas (including the symptoms of anorexia)
    • Initiating sedation


    Advance Care Directives - A Buzz Term with Huge Implications

    Advance Care Planning can be described as the process of reflection, discussion and communication of treatment preferences for end-of-life care that precedes, and may lead to, an Advance Directive. Following the previous session, we will now look at an increasingly important aspect of modern health care. Issues addressed include:

    • The key role of the National Advance Care Directives Framework
    • Medico-legal issues surrounding the establishment and implementation of an Advance Directive
    • The relevance of discussions in carrying out patients' wishes

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Trends in Palliative Care

    The final topic is strongly focused on the future via its consideration of the following topics:

    • Dying at home
    • Palliative care research: an ethical issue
    • Active therapy vs humanistic orientation: finding the balance

    4:00pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Judy Zollo

    Judy Zollo

    After 12 years as a high school teacher Judy began nursing in 1983. Following her training, Judy spent 4 years at Royal Adelaide Hospital, where her work with HIV-AIDS patients stimulated her interest in palliative care. After leaving RAH, Judy worked as a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of SA from 1991-2004. She then took up a role as a Registered Nurse at the Mary Potter Hospice (2005-June 2012) before moving to Daw House Hospice where she was a member of the hospice’s casual pool staff (June 2012-April, 2014). Following her return to clinical practice, Judy was able to continue her teaching role in the following areas: Preparation and delivery of Calvary Health Care’s palliative care courses for registered and enrolled nurses (2005-2010); sessional lecturing in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Flinders University (2005-2012); preparation and delivery of Ausmed’s palliative care seminars (ongoing). Judy has a strong interest in maintaining a balance between Evidence Based Practice and maintenance of palliative care’s historical focus on a holistic and humanistic approach to care.

Palliative Care: For General Nurses
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
Brisbane QLD 4001
Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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