Course curriculum


The task force group planning the course decided to use the British Curriculum in Palliative Medicine, level C, (1) as the basis for the course content, as all current palliative medicine curricula more or less are based on this. Attention has also been paid to the EAPC Curriculum (2), the Swedish Curriculum (3), and revised versions of the British Specialty Training Curriculum (4, 5).

The course is aimed at doctors in the forefront of palliative medicine, who will play an important part in developing the field in their countries. Research should therefore be an integrated part of their specialist training, and a limited research project is included in the course.

Objective of specialist training in Palliative Medicine

The objective of a training program in palliative medicine is to equip doctors, who have specialist qualifications in relevant specialties, to carry the responsibility of a consultant working full time in a specialist palliative care setting, with responsibility for a substantial number of patients with late stage disease (which may not necessarily be malignant).

This responsibility includes:

a)      diagnostic procedures, symptom control, understanding of the biology and natural course of disease, including basic pathophysiological understanding, with emphasis on patients with late or end stage disease, both malignant and non-malignant disease, always considering the four dimensions of symptomatology (physical, psychological, social, and spiritual)

b)      daily assessment of the degree to which control of pain and other symptoms has been achieved

c)      mobilising the assistance of doctors from other medical specialties for further measures, such as intervention
therapy, radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and specialised investigations

d)     actively contributing to teambuilding and to the collaboration of the professionals in a multidisciplinary team (nurses, doctors, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, dieticians, clergy, etc.)

e)      teaching and promoting the knowledge and aims of palliative medicine to medical colleagues, other health care professionals, and the general public

f)       coordinating relevant interventions for the patient, not only within specialist medical services, but also services from other professionals in collaboration with the patient’s GP, thus securing a smooth pathway for the patient between institutions and home

g)      working with other professionals, with families, as well as patients, in the prevention of bereavement morbidity

h)      when asked, advising clinical colleagues in hospitals, or in the community about treatment and management approaches and possibilities for specific patients

i)        having the ability to critically evaluate medical research literature, and having the skills to perform clinical research within the field of palliative medicine.

The newest edition of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine is the textbook for the course.


1. Palliative Medicine Curriculum for Medical Students, General Professional training and Higher Specialist training. Association for Palliative Medicine ofGreat BritainandIreland, 1991.

2. Report and Recommendations of a Workshop on Palliative Medicine Education and Training for Doctors inEurope. European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), 1993.

3. Svensk läroplan i palliativ medicin. Svensk Förening för Palliativ Medicin, 2001.

4. Curriculum for Higher Specialist Training in Palliative Medicine, including Syllabus for Higher Specialist Training in Palliative Medicine. Southampton: Association for Palliative Medicine ofGreat BritainandIreland; 2001.

5. Specialty Training Curriculum for Palliative Medicine. London: Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board; August 2010.