Palliative Care Competence Framework

The Health Service Executive (HSE) Palliative Care Programme Briefing Document (2012) identified the development of a Palliative Care Competence Framework as a key objective for the coming year. The HSE’s Palliative Care Programme convened a Project Steering Group to support, guide and oversee the development of the Palliative Care Competence Framework. The steering group comprised members from the Health Service Executive (HSE), All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), the Irish Association for Palliative Care (IAPC) and the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF).

The purpose of this project was to develop a Palliative Care Competence Framework for health and social care professionals working in various health care settings. The framework is intended to provide for core competences in palliative care whilst also detailing individual competences for each health and social care discipline. It is envisioned that the framework will inform academic curricula and professional development programs, and so will enhance the care of people with a life-limiting condition, fostering greater inter-professional and inter-organisational collaboration in palliative care provision.

The Palliative Care Competence Framework reflects a move to standardisation of undergraduate and postgraduate education in Europe and how this relates to the development of competence using the Tuning Approach. The Tuning Approach provides a guide for attainment of knowledge, skills and attributes for practice in the health and social care professions. The Palliative Care Competence Framework was developed using the Tuning Approach which provided flexibility and autonomy to develop both core and discipline specific competences for generalist and specialist palliative care. The outcome is a clear framework for evidence-based, safe and effective palliative care for generalist and specialist practitioners irrespective of place of practice.

The first phase of the project involved a review of existing Competence Frameworks from various jurisdictions including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the UK. This Review informed the development of the Competence Framework for the Republic of Ireland: Palliative Care Competence Framework Report Project Group