Paediatric Palliative Care

Subject NURS90065 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 21-Jul-2016 to 09-Sep-2016
Assessment Period End 27-Oct-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 01-Aug-2016
Census Date 12-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

A combination of face to face and online delivery, with a strong clinical focus. A delivery format of four four-day subjects offered intensively in two day blocks throughout the year has been established to enable accessibility for regional and interstate health professionals.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 40 hours of lectures/seminars/workshops
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours per 12.5 credit point subject


To enrol in this subject, you must be admitted in either GC-PALLC or GC-PALCARE. This subject is not available for students admitted in any other courses.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Overview, Objectives and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Student Equity and Disability Support Team:


School of Melbourne Custom Programs
Award Programs Team

Program Coordinator - Gemma Hughes

Phone - +61 3 9810 3253


Subject Overview:

The subject will enable health professionals to develop and consolidate skills when caring for children with life limiting conditions. The course will explore palliative approaches to care, the diversity of diagnostic groups, symptom management, psychosocial and ethical issues for palliative children and their families.
Throughout the course work, students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of teaching methods including; workshops, seminars, tutorials and role playing with much emphasis placed on adult /group learning and sharing.

This subject will consist of 5 teaching modules;

  1. Evidence Based Palliative Care
    Incorporating: Basics of quantitative and qualitative research, ethical issues, evaluation, quality activities, implementing research into practice and dissemination strategies (eg. presentations, publications etc).
  2. Illnesses Encountered in Paediatric Palliative Care
    Incorporating: General principles of paediatric palliative care. Malignant conditions, neurodegenerative conditions, chromosomal disorders and congenital anomalies
  3. Symptom Management in Paediatric Palliative Care
    Incorporating: assessment and management of children of varying ages with a range of diagnoses (including children with disabilities).
  4. Psychosocial and Spiritual Aspects
    Incorporating: supporting children with life-limiting conditions, their siblings and parents and self-care for health professionals. Including bereavement care.
  5. Ethics
Learning Outcomes:

Evidence Based Palliative Care

  • Explore the principles of evidence based practice
  • Identify symptoms often experienced by patients during the palliative phase of an illness
  • Explore current evidence based strategies for complex symptom management

Illnesses Encountered in Paediatric Palliative Care

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the epidemiology of paediatric palliative care.
  • Recognise the difference between adult palliative care versus paediatric
  • To understand the current definition and best practices in paediatric palliative care.

Symptom Management in Paediatric Palliative Care

  • To increase knowledge and skills in how to recognise and assess pain in children according to age and developmental stage including verbal and non-verbal cues.
  • To have an understanding of the therapeutic and complimentary options available for pain and other symptom management for infants, children and teenagers.
  • To enhance knowledge and skills in symptom control ( e.g. respiratory, vomiting, seizures)
  • To increase awareness of how the symptoms affect the child and family‚Äôs functioning.
  • Recognise the difference between palliative care and terminal care.
  • Develop knowledge & understanding of the terminal phases of palliative care.

Psychosocial and Spiritual Aspects

  • Recognise the psychological impact of the illness on the child and family.
    Able to understand & articulate the importance of social, cultural and spiritual needs of palliative children & families.
  • To improve communication of health professionals with children with palliative care needs and their families.
  • Develop knowledge of current support services available for palliative children and their families.
  • Develop knowledge & understanding around the grief process & its impact on the child, parents, siblings, family members, friends & community supports such as school.
  • To improve knowledge and awareness of bereavement support in paediatrics
  • To understand the importance and impact of paediatric palliative care on self
  • Development of personal and team strategies for self care.


  • Recognise the complexity of paediatric palliative care and the many ethical issues it encompasses.
  • To gain an understanding of the legislative frameworks which govern practice and accountability
  • 2000 word review and critique a clinical issue (50%) due 2 weeks after the completion of the teaching component
  • 3000 words of self-directed clinical portfolio (50%) due 6 weeks after the completion of the teaching component
Prescribed Texts:

All students will be provided with course notes which incorporate reading material and assessments.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Oral and written communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Application of theory to practice
  • Interpretation and analysis
  • Teamwork
  • Critical Thinking
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care
Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care

Download PDF version.