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Frequently asked questions

Why is this program needed?

Clinicians are caring for increasing numbers of complex, aging patients with advanced chronic illness. These patients often have debilitating symptoms, decreasing function and worsening quality of life. It is critical to have the ability to manage symptoms and align medical treatments with the goals of the patient and family. Until recently, training programs have not equipped new clinicians with the communication skills needed to navigate these sometimes difficult discussions nor to effectively manage pain and other symptoms that affect quality of life.

This program provides an opportunity for practicing clinicians to gain useful communication and symptom management tools that will be meaningful both personally and professionally as well as enhance practice.

How was the curriculum developed?

Curriculum development proceeded from a triad perspective. The National Consensus Project Quality Palliative Care Guidelines and the National Quality Forum preferred practices for quality palliative care were incorporated with an informal needs assessment of potential participants. A national expert in development of palliative care curriculum in medical school and residency programs provided oversight and guidance in curriculum development and methods of instruction.

What is the time commitment for participants?

Part A is 14-hours of class time. Part B consists 4-hours of training. Total time commitment is 18 hours over two and one-half days.

How is the program funded?

Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care applied for and received a generous grant from the Cambia Foundation. This grant is intended to build generalist palliative care skills among clinicians from within and outside of CHI Franciscan Health.

What are the teaching methods?

We do not use PowerPoint. All sessions are highly interactive and include case studies, discussion, feedback and experiential learning.

Who are the Class Facilitators?

The faculty is composed of four clinicians who are nationally certified in Hospice and Palliative care. The fifth member of the faculty is a senior hospice and palliative care administrator.

Does the program offer CME credit?

Yes. Part A & B training has been approved for 18 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Part A of the Palliative Care Academy has been Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #BRN_CEP 14239-96, for 14 Contact Hours.

Part A includes: Building a Climate of Healing, Words That Work, Prognostication, Who Gets to Decide-Ethics, Use of the “Building a Climate of Healing” When Discussing Artificial Nutrition in Advanced Dementia, Communicating Serious News, Dealing with Anger, Experiential Learning and An Exercise in Loss.

Is the Academy right for me?

The Academy will train physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants seeking to improve their communication and symptom management skills. Most participants will likely come from Western Washington, but the Academy will be open to providers from anywhere across the country. We believe other healthcare organizations and practice groups will refer providers to increase their teams’ palliative care expertise and integration.

What is the cost and how do I register?

There is no charge for CHI Franciscan staff. Register online.

Note: The Palliative Care Academy is aimed at training physicians and mid-level clinicians. If you are a health care professional such as a nurse, social worker or case manager and you are interested in attending a session, please do not register until you have communicated with Casey Smith at the email address below.

Contact us

For more information please email Casey Smith at