A free online course to improve palliative care in care homes for older people – registration for the next course opens today!

Earlier this year, a free online course delivered training for almost 1,500 healthcare professionals and others involved in caring for older people at end of life. If you missed it, there’s a new course starting early in 2020! 

Professor Sheila Payne, Emeritus Professor, International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK, reviews the course and invites you to register now

Professor Sheila Payne.

Many health professionals are required to undertake regular training as part of their continuing professional development. Yet, many people struggle to find time in busy schedules, find courses prohibitively expensive or inconvenient to access nearby. One option is to do additional training online.

To address this need, the International Observatory in End of Life Care and partners involved in the European Commission-funded Palliative Care for Older People (PACE) project developed a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). It was delivered from 1st April 2019 for three weeks. Almost 1,500 people registered from 102 countries. The course mainly attracted healthcare professionals, predominantly nurses and care assistants working in care homes, but was also joined by physicians, and others interested in older people. There was a smaller group of older people, including some who were residents in care homes, and family members who were caring for older people.

Countries of MOOC students (darker blue indicates greater numbers).

The course content covered an introduction to the international epidemiology and demographics of ageing, palliative care and palliative care in care homes in week one. In week two, the design and purpose of the PACE project was presented, followed by the first three Steps of the PACE Steps to Success programme. In the final week three, Steps four to six were presented and advice provided on how to sustain change in care homes. The course was supported by Open Access resources and illustrative videos demonstrating the implementation of the PACE programme in six countries (Belgium, Finland, The Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom).

Registration is now open!

The MOOC was interactive. Two experienced clinicians (a nurse and a pharmacist, both with expertise in palliative care) provided mentorshipand gave feedback and support to students. In addition, the lead educators, Professor Katherine Froggatt and Professor Sheila Payne, answered queries and supported students online by offering summaries of learning each week and highlighting interesting debates. The students were able to ‘chat’ together online, sharing their experience and resources. This called attention to the diversity of palliative care available for older people living in nursing homes. Here are some examples:

I am not sure that in Ukraine palliative care is among important issues for elderly people care. In our culture talking about death with or near an old person is a kind of taboo. In public care homes, where lonely old people live, mostly nurses look after them to the end.

I am interested in the subject, naturally, as I am 85 years of age and being a nurse in my young days I want to hear of the latest studies etc on the subject.

Reading other people’s comments and learning about care given in other European countries compared to England has been beneficial.

Overall, the course has been well evaluated and students are being followed up to monitor evidence of changes in practice.

If you missed the course, it is being run again from 9 to 27 March 2020. REGISTER HERE NOW.


Following the success of this course – more than 1,500 participants from 104 countries attended the 2020 course – another FREE ONLINE MOOC course will run next year, starting 22 February 2021 for three weeks. Please email Professor Sheila Payne if you would like to receive more details. 

This post is among the ‘Top Ten Most-viewed Posts’ published in the second half of 2019.

This entry was posted in 2019 most viewed posts, EDUCATION & TRAINING, PACE, Top Ten Most Viewed Posts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A free online course to improve palliative care in care homes for older people – registration for the next course opens today!

  1. Very educative. Palliative care is my passion and the area I will be specialising this year.

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