Challenges in Palliative Care for the Health Care Professional: An Update and Overview

Program Overview

A Course for Health Professionals Caring for Older Adults in Palliative Care Settings

This 2-day intensive course will cover clinical pearls and the most recent evidence based practice through lectures, interactive discussion, and case studies

Why attend this Workshop?

This  course will address assessment, pain management, physical, and emotional supports needs of palliative care patients and families from diagnosis to last days and hours of life, and review the latest legislation in medical assistance in dying.

This interactive course is  designed for healthcare providers who have experience working with older adults and their families in palliative and/or end of life settings.

  • This course will focus on:
    • drawing out some of the most compelling challenges that you may experience in providing care, using evidence, discussion and case studies;
    • provide an opportunity to update and refresh your knowledge and approach, to assist you in your day to day provision of care;
    • practical and applied knowledge that can be used as soon as you return to your role

What will you learn?

Through lectures, discussion, and case-based learning using real-life scenarios in palliative care, participants will understand

  • the palliative care definition, philosophy, and approach to palliative care management across the continuum
  • up-to-date knowledge on current issues in palliative care such as legislation around the use of medical marijuana and medical assistance in dying
  • the role of adjuvant therapies in palliative care, risk benefit ratios and decision-making that supports quality of life
  • complex pain assessment and management.
  • how to support a ‘good death’ through specialized symptom management  Participants will learn to support patients, families, and caregivers by understanding total suffering and anticipatory grief
  • the needs of the healthcare provider in their own feelings while caring for elderly/palliative/end-of-life patients.

Who would benefit from this Workshop?

  • Nurses, PSW's ,RPN's healthcare leadership teams (NP, APN, managers) who are NEW to this area or who would like to refresh their basic knowledge
  • NEW Care Coordinators – who triage and refer patients
  • Recent graduates from nursing programs planning to work in palliative care
  • Caregivers - e.g family members or other caregivers who are involved in providing palliative care supports in hospital, community, and LTC setting would benefit from this course.

All materials presented are patient-centered, focused on what and how patients wish to receive palliative care, and in the setting of their choice.

This course will cover Palliative Care Core Competencies.  Background knowledge of palliative care or experience is not required to take this course

Program Content

Key points to be covered:

Introduction to Palliative Care

  • Definition and practice of palliative Care: World Health Organization
  • Palliative care approaches: working with family/spouse/caregivers
  • Psychosocial, communication, and support to the caregivers
  • Update: Medical assistance in dying - the latest legislation and discussion

Understanding End of Life (Cardiac Failure as example)

  • Treatment that neither to hasten nor postpone death
  • Therapies that are applicable in the course of illness:
    • Management of distressing clinical complications caused by treatments
    • Treatment may positively influence the course of illness and enhance the quality of life

Palliative Care: Managing wounds, managing pain.

  • Types of wounds in palliative care patients
  • Treatment options/goals to support comfort, symptom management and pain relief
  • Understanding pain:
    • Assessment - multiple domains including physical, functional, psychosocial, & cultural factors
    • Pharmacological/Non-Pharmacological Treatment of Pain
  • Targeted interventions based on the assessment will be discussed using case-based learning and interactive format

Last Hours and Days of Life:

  •  Patients at end-of-life experience a range of symptoms and needs that require specialized knowledge and care
  • Recognizing the signs of impending death
  • Symptom management, total suffering and anticipatory grief will be explored to promote a ‘good death’
  • Family/caregiver support to deal with grieving process

Management of symptoms at End of Life:

  • Delirium
  • Dyspnea

Grieving: Helping Families, helping yourself.

  • Stages of grief
  • Communication strategies (verbal/non-verbal)
  • “Closure”



Rosemary Kohr - BA, BScN, MScN, PhD, RN

Tertiary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Dr. Rosemary Kohr, PhD worked for nearly two decades as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and wound care specialist at the London Health Sciences Centre. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario; teaches in the graduate program, Centre of Nursing and Health Studies at Athabasca University; and developed (in collaboration with Dr. Lori Teeple, MD) the Advanced Wound Life Saving (AWLS) MainProC program for physicians. She is a registered nurse in both Ontario and New Brunswick.

She has published and presented her work in international, national and local publications and conferences as well as providing educational and consultative support across Canada. For five years, she provided monthly "Wound Care Rounds" through the Ontario Telemedicine Network. She is the Canadian editor/author of the chapter on Skin and Wound Management in the Fundamentals of Nursing (Potter & Perry Canadian Edition). Her work appears in Lives in the balance: Nurses' stories from the ICU, edited by Tilda Shalof (Kaplan Press, 2009), as well as other international journals. She has a keen interest in Seniors' healthy aging, pain management, in the dynamics of relationships, especially communication, and in the prevention and management of chronic wounds. Dissemination of information, knowledge transfer and uptake in the clinical environment using innovative approaches and electronic technology are fundamental to her work.

Dr. Kohr's clinical research includes evaluation of implementation of best practice guidelines, pain management, wound care and collaborative practice. She has received research grants as well as academic scholarships, and has collaborated on writing a number of successful government grant applications.

For over a decade, Dr. Kohr has provided education and consultation focused in the clinical reality of today’s healthcare environment,  through her company, Kohr Consulting ( She is the former President of the Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses (CAAPN), and a founding member of the Ontario Wound Interest Group (OntWIG). She manages a research grant on Healthy Aging through the University of New Brunswick, and teaches workshops with the HLLN program at York University.