Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)

What is PEPA?

The Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) offers palliative care education and training for health professionals.  PEPA provides free short term placements in palliative care services (2-5 days duration) and free palliative approach workshops.  PEPA activities provide an opportunity for health, aged and community care professionals working in primary care or non-specialist palliative care settings to improve confidence and develop skills in working with people with palliative care needs.

PEPA offers workforce placements in palliative care specialist services (host sites).  Placements entail:

  • Up to five days in a metropolitan or larger service (inpatient, community and/or hospital based consultancy);
  • Integration of learning into the participant's practice;
  • Post-placement support; and
  • Linkages and knowledge sharing with specialist palliative care providers.

Reverse PEPA placements are available for Indigenous, regional and remote and residential aged care settings whereby a specialist palliative care staff member travels to your place of employment to facilitate learning.

PEPA also offers a range of palliative approach workshops including workshops with a focus on culture-centred care and aged care.


Over 3,500 health professionals have undertaken a PEPA placement since the program began in 2003. A further 20,000 health professionals, including over 800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and community workers, have attended a PEPA workshop. Positive outcomes include improved knowledge, confidence and skills for health professionals providing end of life care and the strengthening of networks and linkages between generalist and specialist palliative care providers. There is evidence that PEPA placement participants implement a range of strategies to disseminate new knowledge at the local level, and implement a range of practice improvement initiatives in the workplace following participation in the program.

Who can apply

All health professionals working in primary care or non-specialist palliative care settings are eligible to apply for a PEPA placement, including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and community professionals;
  • Medical practitioners including GP registrars
  • Nurses
  • Aged care workers
  • Community care workers
  • Migrant and CALD liaison officers
  • Allied health practitioners

Applicants from regional and remote areas are encouraged to apply.

Funding, support and flexibility

PEPA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health through the Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative. There is no fee for placement attendance. Financial assistance for travel and accommodation may be available. Reimbursement towards backfill is available for the participant’s employer (or self-employed GP). Maximum funding amounts and eligibility requirements apply.

Continuing professional development

PEPA placements are recognised as CPD activities by:

  • The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • The Australian Council of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • The Royal College of Nursing Australia
  • The Royal Australian College of Physicians Fellows

Further details

The PEPA Project Director is Professor Patsy Yates, Head of School of Nursing, QUT and Director of the Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education.  To find out more about PEPA, download an application form or find contact details for the PEPA manager in your state or territory, visit: 

Last updated 17 January 2017