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Interprofessional Education in Palliative and End of Life Care course free modules

Interprofessional Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (iEPEC)

Communication in Palliative Care

We understand that practitioners working with patients with advanced illness may find it difficult to begin conversations about care, and we want to offer you a toolbox of communication strategies to draw from when you can’t find the words to start an important discussion. iEPEC – Communication in Palliative Care introduces you to communication frameworks and tools for exploring issues associated with suffering reported by patients and families, guiding you through specific strategies for speaking with patients and families about diagnosis, prognosis, goals of care, symptoms, and advance care planning.

The following modules teach fundamental clinical communications skills using three modules from the full de Souza iEPEC-Oncology (iEPEC-O) course:

  • Communicating Effectively
  • Comprehensive Assessment
  • Negotiating Goals of Care & Advance Care Planning

While the rest of the course comprehensively explores other topics ranging from symptom management to conducting a family meeting, this free set of modules is designed to introduce you to patient-centred communication in an interactive and case-oriented format.



iEPEC-O and iEPEC Course Authors:

Susan Blacker, MSW, RSW

Paul Daeninck, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Cathy Kiteley, APN, RN, MScN, CON(C), CHPCN(C)

Judy Simpson, RN, BN, MEd, CHPCN(C)

About the iEPEC Curriculum

iEPEC-O is the Canadian online adaptation of Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (EPEC™), an educational program designed by palliative care clinicians from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. In 2020, recognizing that many clinicians also take care of patients with other life-limiting illnesses, the de Souza Institute has broadened the iEPEC course to cover three non-cancer illnesses: end stage renal disease, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

This curriculum has been adapted and updated from the EPEC™–O Curriculum, which was developed by the U.S. National Cancer Institute in collaboration with the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the EPEC™ Project team and tailored to the Canadian context by EPEC-O Canada:

Emanuel, L.L., Ferris, F.D., von Gunten, C.F. and Von Roenn, J. (2005). Education in Palliative and End of Life Care – Oncology. The EPEC Project, Chicago. ISBN #0971418063.

Daeninck, P., Hanvey, L., Hauser, J., Librach, L., Preodor, M., Simpson, J. (2010). Education in Palliative and End of Life Care – Oncology- Canada. Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

If you wish to save your progress and resume the course at a later point, you can access the course on our eLearning Center with your de Souza Institute account. Go to to create an account and enroll in the course on the de Souza Institute eLearning Center. Contact us if you have any questions.