Information for Health Professionals

This part of the website might be of particular interest to those healthcare professionals who are either working in palliative care – or have an interest in learning more about palliative care.

Please click on the links below to access information further down the page.

Education Program

The Education sub-committee organises several events throughout the year. One of the major events each year is the Professional Development Day. Contact us for more information.

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)

PEPA is a national program funded by the Australian Government under the National Palliative Care Program. It started in 2003 as a means of providing primary health care practitioners from a range of disciplines, with an opportunity to undertake a clinical attachment within a specialist metropolitan or larger regional palliative care service, to develop knowledge and skills in the palliative approach. The continuing success of PEPA has meant that it was extended to the end to May 2006, and then extended again to the end of June 2010.


The growing demand for palliative care means that increasingly health professionals are called upon to provide palliative care as a core part of their practice. This requires an informed health sector, with health care providers aware of and committed to the benefits that palliative care offers to people with a life-limiting disease and their families.

Palliative care is not limited to the final weeks of life. It can contribute to care decisions early in the course of any life-limiting disease and is relevant to managing symptoms in many clinical situations. PEPA aims to improve the quality, availability and access to palliative care for people who are dying and their families.

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) 2007-2010

Since the first placements in 2003, feedback from participants, employers and host sites confirmed that PEPA has been an invaluable means of providing experience and skills to a wide range of health care professionals engaged in end-of-life care.

In the third iteration, PEPA will continue to:

  • Provide rich opportunities for health care professionals to gain experience by spending time in a specialist palliative care service.
  • Provide a continuing program of palliative care workshops, seminars and materials to enhance the capacity of health care professionals engaged in end-of-life care as they care for palliative care clients and their families.
  • Work closely with host sites and employers to support them as they help to support PEPA.

PEPA 2007-2010 is open to any health care workers (GPs, nurses, allied health professionals and aboriginal health workers) who provide clinical care to people at the end of life and are interested in developing their skills and experience by spending a limited period of time in a specialist palliative care service. Specialist palliative care clinicians can also apply for a placement in another palliative care service that can provide a unique learning and development experience that is not available in their own service

For all of the information you will need about PEPA please contact the PEPA Project Manager for NSW:

Project Manager
c/o Palliative Care Department
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Missenden Rd Camperdown NSW 2050
PH: 02 9515 6424
FAX: 02 9515 7464

Special Interest Groups

Social Workers Interest Group

The NSW Palliative Care Social Work Interest Group is a vibrant group of social workers committed to raising the of social work practice in palliative care settings. We operate under the auspices of the Australian Association of Social Workers. We do not have a formal structure, but meet three times each year in rotating venues. The host for each meeting arranges a guest speaker and provides an agenda for that meeting, including information and resource sharing, upcoming conferences and networking opportunities. Sharing lunch together is an important part of our meetings, and a good opportunity for informal networking. Minutes are taken at each meeting and circulated by e-mail.

Sue Hearn from Hope Healthcare North kindly hosted the first two meetings for 2008 in March and July. Further information can be obtained from Sue Hearn at Greenwich Hospital on 9903 8333 or from Julie Garrard at Calvary Kogarah on 9553 3164. Trish McKinnon at Sacred Heart Hospital is another contact for this group and her phone number is 8382 9444.

We always welcome new members to this group and offer a variety of interesting guest speakers at our meetings. The group has initiated a number of significant joint projects over the last few years. We did a cross-site study of the effects of transfer from palliative care units to nursing homes, and these findings formed the basis of a Commonwealth funded grant to develop a new model of care in this area. The group also developed a project on key performance indicators for palliative care social workers and this was presented at the Australian Palliative Care Conference, in poster form in 2007. Information is shared via an e-mail group, and if you would like to receive information in this way, please send your e-mail address to

Physiotherapy Group

This group exists for therapists either working in, or interested in, the delivery of physiotherapy services to palliative care patients.  The group aims to meet quarterly.  For further information, please contact Bronwen Hewitt, Senior Physiotherapist, Sacred Heart Palliative Care Service, ph: 02 8382 9444,

Occupational Therapy Oncology/Palliative Care Focus Group

The occupational therapy oncology / palliative care focus group meets 4 times a year at OT NSW premises at Unit 20 / 8 Avenue of Americas, Newington. The meeting generally consists of time to network with your colleagues and find out what is happening in other settings, an education session relevant to oncology / palliative care, a journal review, and exchange of resources (brochures, etc). The group is beneficial to new therapists working in this field, or experienced therapists and is open to members of the Australian Association of Occupational Therapy and non members.

Please contact one of the chairpersons for further information and meeting times:

Reaonie Kurtz
Calvary Health Care Sydney
p) 02 9553 3460


Kahren White
Prince of Wales Hospital
p) 02 9382 2222 p42697