• Lancaster University

Improving Palliative Care in Care Homes for Older People

Examine how care homes are organised in Europe and how palliative care in care homes can be improved for older people.

4,215 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Enhance your personal or professional interest in palliative care in care homes

In most countries, the population of older people is rising. Some older people spend their final phase of life in a care home, nursing home, or long-term care facility. It’s important the staff in care homes know how to provide skilled and compassionate care.

On this course, you will learn how care homes in six European countries can be improved using the research from a project called ‘PACE, Palliative Care for Older People’, funded by the European Commission. Using the PACE Steps to Success programme, you will learn how to improve palliative care in care homes for both residents and staff.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 18 seconds My name is Sheila Payne, and I’m a professor at the International Observatory on End of Life Care. The Observatory at Lancaster University, in the United Kingdom, is one of the leading international centres of excellence for research and education in palliative care and ageing. The courses taught by leading international experts, including Professor Katherine Froggatt, Professor Lieve van den Block, and Dr. Jo Hockley.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds Our MOOC on improving palliative care in care homes for old people will help you understand more about how to start, or enhance, palliative care for old people. We will introduce you to new ideas and research about how to apply the principles of palliative care in care homes that will benefit older residents, and give staff more confidence and skills. The PACE Steps to Success programme we’ll show you how to make six practical and organisational changes to improve care for older people, their families, and staff, working both in, and with, care homes. Practical examples demonstrating how to use each new step have been filmed in care homes in Belgium, England, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, and in Switzerland.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 seconds Care home staff will share their experiences of implementing the PACE Steps to Success programme, highlighting what they’ve learned. We will draw upon evidence from a large European project called PACE, Palliative Care for Older People. So if you’re working in a care home as a care worker, a nurse, a manager, or a link to care homes, perhaps as a physician, a nurse, or a social worker, then this course is for you. It’s also suitable if you’re interested in older people through your work, or perhaps as a family member. Please join us by registering on this website.


  • Week 1

    Palliative care in care homes

    • Introduction

      Introductions to the course, the course team and an opportunity to introduce yourself.

    • Introduction to week one

      We will start by exploring what it means to have an ageing population, and why we need care homes.

    • An introduction to care homes

      In this section, Professor Katherine Froggatt will explore what a care home is and who resides in a care home.

    • An introduction to palliative care

      Professor Sheila Payne introduces the concept of palliative care, and Professor Katherine Froggatt brings palliative care and care homes together.

    • What have you learned this week?

      We will explore what you have learned this week and introduce what’s coming up next week.

  • Week 2

    PACE Steps to Success - steps one to three

    • Introduction to week two

      We review last week, and introduce Week 2.

    • The PACE Steps to Success programme

      In this activity we will explain more about the PACE study and what the PACE Steps to Success approach involves.

    • PACE Step 1 - Discussing current and future care

      We investigate what living well means to residents, along with their preferences for future care.

    • PACE Step 2 - Mapping changes in condition

      Reviewing patterns of physical change towards the end of life is important in order to provide high quality palliative care that reflects residents' preferences and choices.

    • PACE Step 3 - Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings

      Palliative care is a team approach and should be effectively coordinated. Good coordination of care can be improved by holding a regular monthly multi-disciplinary review meeting.

    • What have you learned this week?

      We will explore what you have learned this week and introduce what’s coming up next week.

  • Week 3

    PACE Steps to Success - steps four to six

    • Introduction to week three

      An introduction to the third week of the course and a recap of week two.

    • Step 4 - Assessment of pain

      Good palliative care includes good symptom control and residents being treated with compassion, dignity and respect at all times.

    • Step 5 - The end of life checklist

      For some residents, the dying phase might happen suddenly, but for the majority it is a slow, gradual process. It is important that staff recognise when a resident may be dying.

    • Step 6 - Care after death

      Good palliative care does not stop at the point of death. When a resident dies, all staff need to follow good practices for the care of the body as well as being responsive to family wishes.

    • Keeping it going

      In this final section, we look at sustaining the PACE Steps to Success programme.

    • What have you learned this week?

      At the end of the week, we will explore what you, and other students, have learned this week on the course and over past three weeks.

    • Conclusion

      The end of course conclusion, with ideas on where to go next and information about the course assignment.

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...

  • Develop an understanding of palliative care within care homes and its importance to patients, their family carers and healthcare professionals.
  • Explore how palliative care can be implemented and sustained within a care home.
  • Engage in online discussion with others and reflect on palliative care provision within care homes in your own country based on your own knowledge and experience.
  • Assess how palliative care in care homes is managed across six European countries, drawing on results of the PACE project and examples from care home staff within these different countries.
  • Engage with a number of palliative care topics including: discussing current and future care, mapping changes in an individual’s condition, coordinating care, improving assessment and management of pain, end of life care and care after death.

Who is the course for?

This course is for staff working in care homes in either a management or caregiving role. This includes staff and volunteers that deliver services in care homes. This course is also ideal for older people and their families wanting to learn more about care homes.

Who will you learn with?

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.

Yakubu is a nurse and educator in adult health, palliative care, and health policy, with research interests in patients, caregivers and health care professionals managing end-of-life conditions.

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.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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