Revolutionising education in Children’s Palliative Care through the ICPCN e-learning programme

Categories: Education.
The ICPCN believes that education is the foundation for the development of paediatric palliative care globally. In order to ensure that health professionals and carers are ‘fit-for-practice’ education must be available, affordable and appropriate for the setting. While there is some excellent training available in some countries, in many, training is limited to one or two short programmes and in some there is nothing available at all.

Needs assessment
Through a needs assessment, ICPCN identified a requirement to develop an international e-learning strategy for children’s palliative care, and received funding for this through the Open Society Institute (OSI). A scientific committee with leading international educators was appointed to help guide the e-learning strategy, amongst other things. After a training needs assessment and review of existing e-learning programmes, a pilot programme was developed, launched, piloted and evaluated. The pilot was very positively received, and the recommendations were overwhelmingly in favour of continuing the programme.

The ICPCN strategy is to develop e-learning courses for palliative care in children which have been developed in response to needs assessments and are appropriate for low-resource as well as high-resource settings. A two-pronged approach has been adopted, whereby initial courses are developed quickly, while a longer term strategy is developed for future courses.
The ICPCN is working with partners throughout the development of this strategy, in particular those who already provide palliative care training. The strategy takes into account the range of existing courses for palliative care in children available globally, and ICPCN will work with partners both in the development of the courses (to ensure new training courses complement existing ones) and in maintaining a list of all courses to ensure that palliative care professionals attend the most appropriate course for their environment.

The objectives of the strategy are that ICPCN will:

  1. Provide a range of e-learning programmes on CPC, which are accessible, culturally appropriate and available in a range of languages.
  2. Respond to the training needs of individuals for CPC both in the short and longer terms.
  3. Signpost individuals towards existing programmes as appropriate.
  4. Work in collaboration with its partners to provide such programmes

The ICPCN has recognised the need to provide education in languages other than English. The courses are now available in Spanish and will also be available in French by the end of this year. Other languages to follow include Serbian and Siswati.

What is available?
We now have two courses, the first on pain assessment and management in children with the following four modules:

  1. Pain in children
  2. Pain assessment in children
  3. Management of pain in children
  4. The WHO Guidelines on Persisting Pain in children

The second course is on communicating with children and dealing with emotional issues.
The four modules are:

  1. Communicating with children and children¹s understanding of death
  2. Impact of serious illness and dealing with serious illness
  3. Providing emotional support and expressing emotions
  4. Specific issues

There is also the option of a clinical component for those who wish to add this to their learning experience. More courses will follow soon.

What do I need to access these courses?

  • A computer
  • Access to the internet (DSL is recommended although we have also included courses without pictures for people living in countries with low bandwidth)

What is the cost?
Absolutely nothing – it is free.

How does it work?

  1. Log on to
  2. Click on the eLearning logo or menu item.
  3. You will be taken to the e-learning page where you can choose the course you would like to complete.
  4. Provide some personal details.
  5. Begin work on the module.
  6. You can stop at any stage and return later.
  7. Complete the assessment at the end of the module.
  8. If you pass we will email you a certificate of completion.

Yes, it really is that simple!

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