Palliative care: Learning outcomes

Last updated: Sunday, January 03, 2021

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Describe how opioid and non-opioid analgesics are used in the management of pain in a palliative setting.
  • Outline how common symptoms such nausea, vomiting and constipation may be treated in patients with a life-limiting illness.
  • Advise on the continuous subcutaneous administration of medicines using a syringe driver.

You can download a PDF of the whole tutorial (without interactive elements such as the Learning Exercises) and a one-page summary of key points.

You should allow 90 minutes to complete this tutorial, including the Learning Exercises.


This tutorial is aimed at hospital trainee pharmacists, and will help you achieve GPhC learning outcomes such as these:
  • LO 5 Proactively support people to make safe and effective use of their medicines and devices
  • LO 12 Take an all-inclusive approach to ensure the most appropriate course of action based on clinical, legal and professional considerations
  • LO 16 Apply professional judgement in all circumstances, taking legal and ethical reasoning into account
  • LO 27 Take responsibility for the legal, safe and efficient supply, [prescribing] and administration of medicines
  • LO 29 Apply the principles of clinical therapeutics, pharmacology and genomics to make effective use of medicines for people [including in their prescribing practice]
  • LO 30  Appraise the evidence base and apply clinical reasoning and professional judgement to make safe and logical decisions which minimise risk and optimise outcomes for the person
  • LO 34 Apply the principles of effective monitoring and management to improve health outcomes
  • LO 35 Anticipate and recognise adverse drug reactions, and recognise the need to apply the principles of pharmacovigilance
  • LO 48 Actively take part in the management of risks and consider the impacts on people

If you are a foundation pharmacist, this tutorial may help you meet competencies from the RPS framework including:
  • 1.4  Selection of the medicine (medicine-medicine, medicine-patient, medicine-disease interactions)
  • 1.7  Monitoring medicine therapy
  • 3.2  Knowledge (drug interactions)
  • 3.3  Analysing information
  • 3.4  Providing information

Continuing professional development

Finally, here are some CPD activities you could consider:

★  Find out if you have a palliative care team at your Trust or in the community and arrange to shadow them. 
★  Establish whether you have any local treatment guidelines on managing symptom control in patients living with a life-limiting illness.
★  Arrange to observe a syringe driver being set up and administered to a patient.