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Palliative Medicine

Palliative & Support Medicine

Frequently presented educational topics for health professionals

Neil M. Ellison M.D.
Director, Palliative and Supportive Medicine Program
Geisinger Health System
Danville, Pennsylvania


Pain Topics

  • Ethical issues in pain management
  • An overview of pain assessment and management
  • Cancer pain management
  • Beyond the basics in pain management
  • Acute and chronic non-malignant pain management
  • Pain assessment and management in the elderly
  • Overview of the long-acting opioids
  • Recognizing and managing opioid toxicities
  • Legal issues in pain management
  • Choosing the right opioid
  • The adjuvant analgesics
  • Overcoming the barriers to effective pain management

Palliative Medicine Topics

  • Establishing a comprehensive Palliative and Supportive Medicine Program
  • The art and science of difficult conversations in the care of the patient with a critical or terminal illness
  • Breaking bad news
  • Contemporary Films and Palliative Medicine
  • Prognosis -To tell the truth? Perspectives of the patient, family and health care provider.
  • Ethical issues in palliative medicine (CPR, hydration and nutrition, pain management, etc.)
  • Symptom management at the end of life (bowel obstruction, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, confusion and restlessness, delirium, pain, dyspnea, etc.)
  • Artificial Hydration and Nutrition – Scientific, cultural and ethical and other issues
  • Overview of Hospice
  • The last hours of life
  • Discussing DNR (CPR) orders

Workshops for Health Professionals

  • Ethical issues in palliative medicine
  • Difficult conversations  - DNR, Difficult family conferences
  • The death pronouncement   A workshop for house staff
  • Various communication issues (Breaking bad news, difficult family conversations)
  • Contemporary Films and Palliative Medicine
  • Prayer and religion in the patient-physician relationship
  • Adult cases
  • Pediatric cases
  • Palliative and supportive medicine case discussions
  • Artificial Hydration and Nutrition – Scientific, cultural and ethical issues
  • Tumor board presentations of cancer related pain management or palliative medicine issues
  • Psychosocial conferences
  • Loss on service teaching (LOST)  “When a patient dies on service”
  • Resident case presentations

Specialty specific pain management workshop

  • Pain management in the elderly
  • Acute and chronic pain management
  • Pain in the hospice and extended care setting
  • Cancer pain management
  • Postoperative or post procedure pain assessment and management
  • Case presentations in palliative care (bowel obstruction, dyspnea, fatigue, pain, confusion, delirium, nausea and vomiting, etc.)


Presentation of documentary or feature length films or film clips with panel and audience discussions of the topics presented