The palliative care undergraduate curriculum for medical students was developed jointly by the project partners based on international recommendations.

The EDUPALL Curriculum is available for free download in English, German or Romanian version (see below). The curriculum is structured to merit 3 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points, with 72 hours of training, organised into: theoretical training (14 hours); bedside training (28 hours); online training (30 hours) and self-directed study.

The curriculum covers six domains and the proportion of each domains is recommended by the EAPC: basics of palliative care 5%, pain and symptom management 50%, psychosocial and spiritual aspects 20%, ethical and legal issues 5% communication 15%; teamwork and self reflection 5%

Topics included in the curriculum:

  • Basics of palliative care:  Palliative care as an integrated discipline and palliative care in hospital and community settings
  • Pain Assessment and Management: Pain and total pain in palliative care, pain pathophysiology, classification and measurement, principles of pain treatment and barriers in pain management
  • Symptom Assessment and Management: Principles of symptom assessment and management, assessment and management of fatigue, digestive and respiratory symptoms in palliative care, dermatologic conditions, neuropsychiatric disorders, care of the dying patient and emergencies in palliative care
  • Ethical and Legal Issues: Decision making and models of care, advance care planning and  physician assisted suicide and euthanasia
  • Communication: Communication with the patient and their family: assessment, planning and conducting family meetings, core communication skills for palliative care, communication challenges in palliative care including breaking bad news, conflict and dealing with collusion
  • Teamwork and Self-Reflection: Teamwork and team dynamics, self-care and limits and goals of Medicine

The curriculum was reviewed by experts from 27 European countries and the review included a brief survey on the structure, content and organisation of the curriculum. All reviewers were overwhelmingly positive about the draft curriculum matrix. There was consensus that teaching units were logically organised, learning outcomes covered core training needs, learning objectives provided guidance for teaching sessions, learning modalities were appropriately aligned and assessment strategies were fit for purpose.

The proposed curriculum is considered essential for all medical students as it will empower them as future doctors with palliative care knowledge and skills needed for caring for people with chronic progressive illnesses; which are a growing group of patients in the health care system.