Recommendations for the development of undergraduate curricula in palliative medicine in European medical schools

Categories: Education.

This recent publication builds on previous work of the Taskforce; the ‘Curriculum in Palliative Care for Undergraduate Medical Education – Recommendations of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)’ published in 2007, and ‘Recommendations for the development of postgraduate curricula leading to certification in Palliative Medicine’, published in 2009. 

According to the authors of the report, 50% of deaths in Europe follow ‘chronic’ conditions and every one of these people would benefit from palliative care. The authors go on to state that: “90% of these people will (and should) remain under the care of their general practitioners/ family doctors.” Therefore it is important that doctors graduating from medical schools are equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide palliative care to those of their patients who require it. 

The recommendations go beyond guidance on training in the management of physical pain to deal with the psychosocial and spiritual aspects of care. They also stipulate that teachers embody the values of knowledge, compassion, sensitivity and humility, as well as being well versed in a multitude of teaching techniques. 

In his forward to the report, Franco De Conno. Honorary Director of the EAPC, said: “I believe this new publication could be extremely useful in medical schools across Europe to facilitate the development of palliative medicine, particularly in these countries where undergraduate education in palliative medicine is still in the early stages of development.”

The recommendations can be accessed online from the EAPC website.