Lancaster partners with FutureLearn to deliver free palliative care education in Ghana

More than 40 health care workers from Asamang SDA Hospital have now completed the online course
More than 40 health care workers from Asamang SDA Hospital have now completed the online course

Lancaster University has partnered with the online learning platform FutureLearn to provide free access to palliative care education for staff at Asamang SDA Hospital through the charity COMPASS Ghana.

COMPASS Ghana aims to reduce suffering and hardship in resource-poor communities, by unlocking access to quality end-of-life care in Ghana and the wider sub-Saharan region, where palliative care remains stigmatised.

More than 40 healthcare workers have now completed the online course Dying Well: The Role of Palliative Care and Sedation in End of Life Care which aims to teach best practices for managing difficult end of life symptoms. With this knowledge, learners are able to improve care practices, either as a health and social care professional or as a family caregiver.

Dr Yakubu Salifu, a Palliative Care lecturer at Lancaster University and the Chief Executive of Compass Ghana said: “The course, by increasing participants' knowledge and confidence, has the potential to address the difficult conversation around death and dying especially in contexts where cultural beliefs hugely influence health-seeking.

“The course has provided some basic understanding about the concept of death and dying by empowering healthcare professionals to contribute effectively to palliative care, making them valuable assets in healthcare delivery teams and capable of providing quality care to patients in need. The broader impact may extend to influencing policy and fostering a more comprehensive approach to palliative care in regions with similar challenges.”

Comments from the Asamang SDA Hospital healthcare workers have been overwhelmingly positive:

  • “I believe this free course has increased my knowledge in healthcare delivery and will make me valuable in any healthcare delivery team. I will also be able sufficiently take good care of patients who require palliative care.”
  • “This course will help me render quality care to my clients. I have gained confidence in the discharge of my duties.”
  • “This course has empowered me to provide services for palliative care clients within my scope.”

Professor Nancy Preston, from the International Observatory on End-of-Life Care at Lancaster University, said: “Palliative care is only just beginning in many countries across the world, but they lack access to free, accessible training. Education on good practice in palliative care is crucial to develop these services and it has been amazing to support the learning in Ghana.”

Ian Howell, Managing Director at FutureLearn, said: “Our mission to transform access to education remains at the heart of everything we do. We are proud to play a small role in widening access to palliative care education in Ghana, and hope that this initiative has equipped the healthcare staff with the crucial skills and knowledge needed to provide quality end of life care.”

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