Detailed Course Description
Palliative care is the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social, and spiritual problems is paramount. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable in the earlier stages of the illness. This course will address both the pharmacolgic and non-pharmacologic issues associated with palliative care. Students enrolled in Palliative Care will acquire knowledge of pertinent issues relative to palliative care so that they may become more effective practitioners for patients in need of this type of care.
Several lectures will be provided throughout the semester covering pain and symptom management material beyond that of required courses. Topics include advanced considerations in pain and symptom management (especially case-based approaches), substance abuse, interventional approaches, the use of complementary/alternative approaches to pain management, pain assessment, nutritional needs of palliative care patients, legal and ethical aspects to palliative care, psychological issues facing palliative care patients and their caregivers, breaking bad news, medical futility, care during the last hours, withholding/withdrawing treatments, speech/communication issues in palliative care, and spiritual concerns.
A portion of your grade in this course will be based on your completion of a homework case problem. There will be a required essay assignment. In-class activities will involve working in small groups to solve problems presented in various didactic lectures.
Three exams will be given during the semester utilizing electronic testing software. Two first 2 exams will be scheduled in the evenings, the third will be given during final exam week. Students are required to bring their laptop computer (PC or MAC) to exams.
- Define palliative care through examples of patient care interventions
- Discuss ethical, cultural, spiritual, psycho-social, and legal issues in providing palliative care
- Understand and apply primary literature to examples of pharmacist liability for specific cases
- Develop an understanding of ethical considerations in palliative care environments
- Understand psychosocial issues through participation in small group role-playing
- Discuss cultural differences in various societies and how this may directly impact patient care
- Discuss the importance of quality of life considerations for patients receiving palliative care
- Review various instruments used in clinical studies evaluating quality of life
- Understand how to apply these instruments to patients in clinical practice
- Discuss the role of nutritional support in palliative care
- Understand differences in nutritional requirements for palliative care patients
- Discuss all aspects of pain management (i.e. assessment, pharmacology, non-pharmacologic interventions, and complementary medicine)
- Understand essential components of an effective pain assessment instrument
- Demonstrate effective pain assessment techniques
- Design an appropriate pain management regimen, including opioids, non-opioids, adjuvant, OTC, and herbal/alternative treatments
- Discuss pain assessment and treatment issues that are unique to the pediatric and elderly populations
- Review literature specifically addressing issues related to pediatric or elderly populations
- Discuss how management of these populations differs from that of an adult population