Improving quality of life for cancer patients and their families reduces suffering, reduces preventable readmissions, and improves quality outcomes.

To achieve these goals, oncologists need the skills to have effective conversations with patients and families about their treatment goals and to safely manage pain and other symptoms. When patient needs are especially acute—complex pain and symptoms or conflicts among patient, family, and physician—oncologists often consult the specialty palliative care team for an added layer of support.

This toolkit contains training and clinical tools for oncology clinicians from all disciplines.

Download a course catalog with information about continuing education credits and ABIM MOC points for all CAPC courses here.

What’s in the Toolkit

Communicate about what matters to patients and families in order to create a care plan aligned with what is most important to them.

Advance Care Planning Conversations

How to initiate and conduct conversations about advance care planning.

Clarifying Goals of Care

Strategies for eliciting patient goals and preferences to inform treatment decisions.

Conducting a Family Meeting

Communication techniques for an effective family meeting.

Delivering Serious News

Communicating serious clinical news to patients and families.

Discussing Prognosis

How to discuss patient prognosis in a manner that is sensitive, clear, and supportive.

Assess and safely manage pain, dyspnea, nausea and vomiting, constipation, anxiety, and depression.

Course 1: Comprehensive Pain Assessment

Conducting a comprehensive pain assessment to guide safe and effective treatment.

Course 4: Assessing Risk for Opioid Substance Use Disorder

Integrating routine risk assessment for substance use disorder when considering or using opioid therapy.

Course 5: Opioid Trials: Determining Design, Efficacy, and Safety

Designing a safe and effective opioid trial for the patient with serious illness.

Course 8: Monitoring for Opioid Efficacy, Side Effects, and Substance Use Disorder

Ongoing evaluation of opioid benefits, risks, and side effects for the patient with serious illness.

Course 14: Pain Management: Putting it All Together

Safe opioid prescribing for patients with serious illness, using the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) Guidelines for the Chronic Use of Opioid Analgesics.

Prescribing Opioids: A Pocket Reference

Opioid pocket reference for providers including safe starting doses, equianalgesic chart, and standard dosing strengths. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2019.

Symptom Management

Training curriculum and clinical tools for assessing and managing five common symptoms in patients living with serious illness.

Know how to describe palliative care to patients and families and when to refer.

An In-Depth Look At Palliative Care And Its Services

Defining palliative care, which patients need it, how it is delivered, and how palliative care differs from hospice.

Referral Criteria for Specialty Palliative Care
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Checklist of triggers for referral to a specialty palliative care team.

Get Palliative Care Provider Directory

Searchable directory of specialty palliative care providers, filtered by care setting.

Case studies and guidance for improving symptom management and achieving goal-concordant care.

Palliative Care and the Oncology Care Model (OCM)
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Recommended clinician training to improve on OCM measures.

Case Study: Moffitt Cancer Center’s Approach to Standardizing Palliative Care and Oncology Integration
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Use of screening to risk-stratify patients for palliative care based on need. CAPC and the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative.

Overall Survival Results of a Trial Assessing Patient-Reported Outcomes for Symptom Monitoring During Routine Cancer Treatment

Integration of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) into the routine care of patients with metastatic cancer is associated with increased survival compared with usual care. Basch, et. al. JAMA 2017.

Impact of Interdisciplinary Outpatient Specialty Palliative Care on Survival and Quality of Life in Adults With Advanced Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Patients with advanced cancer randomized to receive outpatient specialty palliative care lived longer and had better quality of life. Hoerger, et. al. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, September 2018.