Frail elderly person in wheelchair with caregiver

1. "I don't know what to say" Preparing to Care, Communicate and Connect

Develop the skills you need to be self-aware and for communicating when providing hospice and palliative care
In this course, students will learn how to communicate and connect in ways that honour and respect a dying person and their family; develop self-awareness and a deeper understanding of their beliefs, values, and cultural view; explore and learn the best practices for communicating and connecting in palliative care, so that you can better know what to say when providing care; and discover what you might be saying that may prevent a person from sharing what they are feeling or they need.


Course Overview

Learn about the PSW's role as a caregiver in the journey of a dying person. Develop self-awareness and understanding of your beliefs, values, and your cultural view and learn how to set aside beliefs, values and so on, that you do not bring them with you as a caregiver, enabling you to build trust and develop healthy care-giving relationships. Explore best practices for communicating and connecting in palliative care to support a person's dignity and honour, and develop compassionate care-giving relationships that build trust and respect. Learn ways to communicate so that you will be able to better understand what is helpful and what is less helpful to say. 

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Practice self-reflection to identify beliefs, values and opinions about dying and death.
  • Identify ways that personal “baggage” can interfere with providing person-centred care.
  • Explain how your world view can communicate respect and support dignity for all people.
  • Demonstrate ways to connect and communicate to provide emotional and spiritual support to the person and family.
  • Understand your instrumental role in listening and sharing information appropriately when a person discusses advance care plans or care wishes.
  • Provide empathetic and compassionate “ways of being” to provide emotional and spiritual support to the person and family.
  • Identify and understand how to avoid roadblocks to communication.



In this course you will need:

  1. Access to a printer for course documents
  2. A writing journal or notebook for writing reflections and course notes.


Google Chrome is the recommended internet browser for these courses.


Individual course certificates of completion can be downloaded from the MY COURSES page after passing the quiz with a grade of 70% or higher.

Quiz Completion

If you cannot submit your completed quiz for grading, it is possible that you may not have opened every slide and allowed the time line to complete. To correct this issue, return to the modules and check or play every slide to the end of the timeline. 


Module 1: Course Overview and Beliefs About Death and Dying

This module introduces the learning outcomes for the course. Learning begins by exploring beliefs and death and dying.


This course starts off by presenting learning outcomes for the course, and then launches directly into a reflective activity, where you'll consider your beliefs, values, and opinions about death and dying, and caring for a dying person.

If you are a new learner, you can access the orientation and navigation tutorial in this module to help you find your way around.


Module 2: The Journey and Your Baggage

Consider that dying may be a journey and that as a caregiver, you need to decide which baggage you can take on this journey.


You are invited to consider dying as a journey.

Through this lens you will learn about your role as a personal support worker (PSW) or health care assistant (HCA) in providing care for a dying person and their family.

Explore the meaning of the term "baggage" as it applies to your beliefs, values, and opinions, and discover why a person's baggage can interfere with the care they are able to provide.

Module 3: Developing Self-Awareness to Sort Your Baggage

Developing Self-Awareness to Sort Your Baggage
Build skills to become aware of your baggage and to know what to take with you when providing care.

Developing your self-awareness is key to being aware of your beliefs, values and opinions when providing care.

Self-awareness is essential for all health care providers, so they can provide culturally safe, trauma informed, unbiased care for any person. 

Learn how to recognize your baggage, and develops skills for exploring your baggage as integral part of your role as a provider of palliative care.

Module 4: Best Practices for Communicating in Palliative Care

Developing Self-Awareness to Sort Your Baggage
Explore these best practices in communicating to know how to communicate and connect when providing care.


Add to your caregiver's toolkit with these best practices for providing palliative care. Based in research and practice, these best practices are the foundation for connecting and communicating with the dying person and family.

Developing these skills and behaviours into your practice will help you to support, communicate, and connect with any dying person and their family. 

Module 5: Roadblocks to Communication

Developing Self-Awareness to Sort Your Baggage
Sometimes we can say things that can prevent others from feeling they can share information. These are roadblocks and, as a care giver, it will help you to know how to avoid the roadblocks to communication.


Roadblocks to communication can shut down conversations and communication between the person and the care team fast as you can whistle! Just like a block in the road, everything stops.

Learn what to say instead of these roadblocks and be able to establish trust and respect in the relationship with the person and family you provide care for.

Module 6 Course Quiz

Welcome to Module 6: Course Quiz!

Requirements: 70% or greater to pass the course.

3 opportunities to pass the quiz.

The answer key is shown only after you have passed the quiz.

Check here before starting the quiz

Have you viewed, or clicked on all slides of all modules?

If you have missed any slides, the quiz will NOT be graded.

You will know you have missed slides if you submit the quiz for grading, and you do not get a grade for it within minutes.


How to fix this

  1. Go back into the modules, select "Menu" in the top left . This view displays all the slides in the module. 
  2. A viewed slide will have a check mark beside it .
  3. If a slide does not have a check mark beside it, click the title to set it as viewed. A check mark will appear.
  4. Repeat this process for all modules of the course.
  5. When finished, open the quiz module. You will now be able to submit the quiz for grading.

Good luck!