Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) and its alignment to the National Palliative Care Strategy

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) and its alignment to the National Palliative Care Strategy

A blog post written by Suzanne Cosgrove, National Manager, Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)

PEPA has been part of the national palliative care initiatives and programs funded by the government since 2004.

PEPA aims to enhance the capacity of health professionals to deliver a palliative approach to care by:

  • Providing supported clinical placements and other experiential workshop and independent learning opportunities for non-specialist health practitioners across rural, remote, and metropolitan settings
  • Enhancing linkages between specialist and non-specialist palliative care providers to improve the quality and coordination of care
  • Providing resources and development opportunities for host specialist palliative care services to create ‘leaning organisations’ with a commitment to and skills in supporting ongoing learning.

PEPA education and training activities are unique in that they incorporate innovative evidence-based approaches to maximise learning, with a focus on strategies that promote active learning. Ongoing evaluation and research undertaken within PEPA, highlights the need for PEPA to ensure new knowledge translation strategies are designed and integrated to develop PEPA participants’ capacity to act as palliative care champions who are equipped to achieve organisational improvements when they return to practice. In this project, PEPA clinical placements build on the highly successful model used in previous project phases while also enhancing the impact and reach of PEPA activities with new initiatives.

PEPA focuses its education activities to align with the guiding principles and goals set out within the National Palliative care Strategy. When developing educational material PEPA aims to improve healthcare workforce participants confidence, knowledge, skill and practice to provide a palliative approach to care for people and families in their care.

Our focus aligns with:

Goal 1: Understanding – PEPA material is written to support a broad range of health care workforce to understand the benefits of palliative care, know where and how to access services, and how to involve people and families with life limiting illness in decisions about their own care.

Goal 2: Capability – PEPA is a national program and the education and placement provided is for all states and territories to support a whole of care workforce approach to development of knowledge and practice of palliative care for all care settings.

Goal 3: Access and Choice – PEPAs education offerings are focused on supporting healthcare workforce to develop their ability to research, plan and provide culturally safe and responsive palliative care where a person wants it and when they need it.

Goal 4: Collaboration – PEPAs placements are founded in collaboration and supporting generalist healthcare workforce to meet and work alongside specialist palliative care workforce to see how to plan, deliver and evaluate coordinated culturally responsive palliative care to persons living with life limiting illness and their families.

Goal 5: Investment – PEPA education materials are written to support healthcare workforce to develop and improve the way they plan and deliver culturally safe and responsive palliative care services to align with the needs of their communities. A focus is given for educational material to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers increase their capabilities to meet community palliative care needs across Australia.

Goal 6: Data and Evidence – PEPA evaluates all its placement and workshop activity pre and post each activity to ask participants to self-report their increased knowledge, skill and confidence in reference to their palliative care competence of care delivery. This data is evaluated to measure the IMPACT of our program on palliative care workforce and forms the foundations for developing continual improvement processes to our learning material.

Goal 7: Accountability – PEPA ensures we collect and share data about our palliative care education outcomes to support improvements in planning quality palliative care education. We continue to learn from feedback and routinely as all people involved in our program if they identify as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Profile picture of Sue Cosgrove


Suzanne Cosgrove, National Manager for Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)


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The views and opinions expressed in Palliative Perspectives are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.