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BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2016 Jun;6(2):237-42. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2015-000872. Epub 2015 Dec 22.

Developing a palliative care competence framework for health and social care professionals: the experience in the Republic of Ireland.

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UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care, Dublin, Ireland.
Clinical Lead National Palliative Care Programme, Palliative Medicine Consultant, St Francis Hospice and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care, Dublin, Ireland.



Competence-based education in health and social care has been promoted through the Tuning Process in Europe. This papers reports on the process of developing a Palliative Care Competence Framework for health and social care professionals working in the Republic of Ireland.


A Palliative Care Competence Framework Steering Group, comprising a range of health and social care professionals, was established to oversee and drive the development of the framework, through identification of core competences and related indicators and supporting the work of 10 working groups to develop discipline specific competences.


The Palliative Care Competence Framework identifies six domains of competence with core indicators which all health and social care professionals should be able to demonstrate on completion of initial academic programme for professional registration or in the context of their current job. Discipline-specific competences supplement the core competences and describe additional skill-specific competences acquired during training in that discipline. Discipline-specific competences are organised in three ascending levels of expertise of palliative care practice.


The framework describes universal core competences in palliative care while also detailing individual competences for each health and social care discipline. It is envisioned that the framework will inform academic curricula and professional development programmes, and so will enhance the care of people with life-limiting illness, fostering greater interprofessional and interorganisational collaboration in palliative care provision.


Education and training

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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