• Lancaster University

Dying Well: The Role of Palliative Care and Sedation in End of Life Care

Improve your care as a healthcare professional or family caregiver with palliative treatment and sedation best practices.

2,012 enrolled on this course

A Health Care professional discusses palliative care with an elderly patient

Dying Well: The Role of Palliative Care and Sedation in End of Life Care

2,012 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

Learn from the experts at Lancaster University and various European countries

How people die stays with those who care about them. Dying well means being able to manage challenging symptoms in clinical care settings, which can sometimes involve the use of sedation or other care options.

On this three-week course from Lancaster University, you’ll learn the best practices for managing difficult end of life symptoms. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to improve your care practices as a health and social care professional or a family caregiver.

You’ll learn what it means to die well as you unpack patterns and experiences at the end of life. Exploring findings from a European Commission funded study, you’ll also discover the use of sedation and other care options you can use in your context.

Understand the role of palliative care

Through a variety of learning materials, including short videos, articles, discussions, and real-life case studies, you’ll discover the role of palliative care and sedation in helping people to die well.

This will help you gain an understanding of current palliative care practices and treatment options for end of life care across Europe and in the context of ethical and cultural differences.

Learn how to manage difficult symptoms with sedatives

Next, you’ll compare ethical and practical debates as well as evidence-based recommendations about the use of sedation in end of life care across European countries.

This exploration will help you learn how to manage difficult symptoms with sedation.

Explore recommendations for palliative sedation

Finally, you’ll explore the revised recommendations from the European Association for Palliative Care on palliative sedation.

You’ll then put your skills into practice as you prepare a plan about the use of sedation in your own clinical care setting or as a family caregiver.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Welcome to the Future Learn course, Dying well: The Role of Palliative Care and Sedation. Death touches all of us in different ways. For many people, it’s a peaceful end to a life well lived. But for some, there are concerns about how the process of dying may be experienced and the impact it has on those who witnessed the death. Hello, my name is Professor Sheila Payne and I’m an Emeritus Professor at the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Along with my colleague Professor Nancy Preston, we’ll be launching a new course on Future Learn on Monday the 16th of October 2023.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds During the course, we’ll be talking about dying, and especially how palliative care may have a role in easing the experience of dying by improving quality of life, offering compassionate communication for patients and their families, and managing distressing symptoms and concerns. We’ll also be drawing upon the outcomes and lessons learned from a large European study called palliative sedation. With guest presentations from leading doctors and researchers. In the first week, we’ll start to look at patterns of dying and palliative care services across Europe and discuss the process of dying and what palliative care means in this context.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds In the second week, we explain the palliative sedation project and tell you about what has been learned to improve sedation in palliative care contexts throughout Europe. We show you examples of how staff have integrated sedation into their work and introduce what we know from international publications. Finally, in week three we introduce the revised European Association for Palliative Care Framework on Sedation and look at specific examples from different countries of how it can work in practise. The course is designed to be suitable for clinicians working in palliative care and cancer care, and also for researchers and other people interested in healthcare. There’s still time to invite friends and colleagues to enrol on the course and take part alongside you.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds Having the support of people you know can really enrich the experience of studying online. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to interact with other learners within the course and we strongly encourage you to join it. If this is your first Future Learn course, you might like to familiarise yourself with the site. By visiting the Using Future Learn page. You’ll find more help on Future Learn’s Frequently Asked Questions page. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

What topics will you cover?

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Typical symptoms and experiences at the end of life and the concept of ‘dying well’
  • Global patterns of dying and an introduction to palliative care as a practice
  • Current (European) clinical practice in managing difficult symptoms at the end of life, including the use of sedation
  • Ethical and policy debates regarding palliative sedation
  • Revised recommendations from the European Association for Palliative Care on using sedation in the palliative care context

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe patterns of dying across the world and common symptoms people experience
  • Explore current palliative care practices and treatment options near the end of life, including sedation
  • Apply evidence-based recommendations on sedation to support decision making about its use and delivery within palliative care contexts
  • Evaluate ethical and clinical evidence about the use of sedation at the end of life across European countries
  • Develop a plan about the use of sedation at the end of life in the context of their own setting

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for health and social care professionals such as physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and social workers.

You may work in palliative care units, hospital-based palliative care teams, hospices, community-based services, in nursing homes, or the wider healthcare system. Alternatively, you may be a family caregiver.

This course will help you provide better care for patients who experience difficult end of life symptoms.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Professor of Palliative Care and Co-Director at the International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University. I conduct research into palliative care & teach on online PhD Programmes

I am Professor in Palliative and End of Life care, with specific research interests focussing on the role and experiences of family carers in supporting patients approaching the end of life.

I am a Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University's International Observatory on End of Life Care. My background is in health psychology and health research.

Who developed the course?

Lancaster University

Lancaster University is a collegiate university, with a global reputation as a centre for research, scholarship and teaching with an emphasis on employability.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 8 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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