Supporting learning about palliative care in the Torres Strait

Supporting learning about palliative care in the Torres Strait

An article written by Kylie Ash and Sharon Wetzig

Educators who are planning learning around palliative care and chronic disease will appreciate the new Interprofessional Learning Case Scenario from Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U). This fictitious case follows the story of Torres Strait Islander man, Mr Alen Mills and his family. The case details Alen and his family’s experience living with end-stage kidney disease. This is an open-access resource and is available through the PCC4U website.

The case scenario and educator resources are designed to support a variety of learning activities for individuals and groups, aimed at developing capabilities in palliative care and cultural responsiveness, as well as interprofessional teamwork. Resources provided as part of the case scenario include a referral letter, a complete health summary (i.e. medications, social and family information, home environment, cultural and spiritual information), and a description of the multidisciplinary team providing care.

Expert opinions have been gathered from a range of health professionals and collated to provide a summary of the roles of the various team members, what they would ask Alen and his family, and their recommendations for approaches to assessment, interventions, and follow-up care. Learners can access these as part of, or after, undertaking the learning activity. Additional resources are available for educators to support different ways of using this resource, issues to explore in more depth, and further reading/study options. Some background information regarding the context of healthcare provision in the Torres Strait is also provided for those learners and educators who are not familiar with the area.

The case scenario information was informed by a group of peer reviewers, which included Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander academics and clinicians, as well as non-Indigenous academics and clinicians with experience working in this context. The peer review process and engagement with Indigenous Australian stakeholders strengthened both the authenticity of the resource and its application across various health professional groups.

Peer reviewers made a number of comments regarding the benefits of this resource in helping prepare students to work in multidisciplinary teams, and in remote settings, especially given that exposure to the health contexts seen in the Torres Strait is limited in many programs. They also provided some key take-home messages for students, including these comments:

  • Always be guided by what the person and their family want, even if it's not what you would choose
  • Ensure information is shared clearly between all team members
  • Keep contact information and preferred people to involve in conversations up-to-date
  • This is a tough case, but not unexpected in clinical practice. Working together as a healthcare team is the key!

The PCC4U team will be hosting a webinar on 16 May (1-2pm AEST) with special guest Miriam Cavanagh, Lecturer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and LIME reference group member. In this webinar session, we will explore how this case scenario resource can be used to support learning around providing palliative care in the Torres Strait. You can register to attend this free webinar session here.

Profile picture of Kylie Ash

Kylie Ash
National Project Manager PCC4U,
Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative, QUT

Profile picture of Sharon Wetzig

Sharon Wetzig
Learning and Development Coordinator
Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative, QUT



1 comments on article "Supporting learning about palliative care in the Torres Strait"

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Debbie D'Urso

Thank you for these excellent resources.!

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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.