Ensuring competency in end-of-life care: Controlling symptoms

Frank D. Ferris, Charles F. Von Gunten, Linda L. Emanuel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Palliative medicine is assuming an increasingly important role in patient care. The Education for Physicians in End-of-life Care (EPEC) Project is an ambitious program to increase core palliative care skills for all physicians. It is not intended to transmit specialty level competencies in palliative care. Method: The EPEC Curriculum was developed to be a comprehensive syllabus including trainer notes, multiple approaches to teaching the material, slides, and videos of clinical encounters to trigger discussion are provided. The content was developed through a combination of expert opinion, participant feedback and selected literature review. Content development was guided by the goal of teaching core competencies not included in the training of generalist and non-palliative medicine specialist physicians. Results: Whole patient assessment forms the basis for good symptom control. Approaches to the medical management of pain, depression, anxiety, breathlessness (dyspnea), nausea/vomiting, constipation, fatigue/weakness and the symptoms common during the last hours of life are described. Conclusion: While some physicians will have specialist palliative care services upon which to call, most in the world will need to provide the initial approaches to symptom control at the end-of-life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Palliative Care
StatePublished - Jul 30 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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