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When cure is not possible: Working with patients and families at end-of-life

Event number: 19019
6 CPD hours
Presenter(s): Dr Sue Burney

Patients with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, end-stage kidney disease and coronary obstructive pulmonary disorder and their families will generally experience heightened psychological distress once they become aware that cure is not possible, active treatment has been ceased, and the only option is symptom management. As the patient draws closer to the end of their life the level of their distress can increase, and this is often more acute in the patient’s family members and friends. This workshop is intended to present psychologists and other health professionals working with such patients or who have an interest in this area with an overview of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary to help maintain quality of life until the person dies and provide support to the family during this process and into bereavement.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the nature and scope of end-of-life issues for patients with a life-limiting illness and their families
  • To appreciate the aims of palliative care and the specialist skills of the multidisciplinary palliative care team
  • To become familiar with the role of psychologists in the multidisciplinary palliative care team
  • To be aware of the various evidence-based psychology interventions that are helpful in the palliative care setting
  • To appreciate the breadth of resource material available in this specialist area

About the presenter(s)

Dr Sue Burney is the Past Head, the Szalmuk Family Psycho-oncology Unit, Research Institute, Cabrini Health and Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University. As Head of the Psycho-oncology Unit she was the lead investigator on a range of research projects concerned with the lived experience of cancer patients, the side effects of cancer treatment, the efficacy of an existential therapy for patients at end of life, and the supportive care needs of patients, their carers, and families. In this role, she also supervised postgraduate psychology research and clinical placement students from a range of Victorian universities and developed a psycho-education program for cancer patients at Cabrini.


Parking: Onsite parking is available at a rate of $10 per day for Graduate House members, or $15 for non-members. Also street parking available.

Please ensure to note any specific dietary requirements on registration as morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided

Online registration


Graduate House
220 Leicester Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Venue is wheelchair accessible
Start date: 21/10/2017
End date: 21/10/2017
Time: 9.30am (registration) 10am to 5pm


CHP member $150
CHP student member $80
APS member: $275
APS student member: $100
Non APS member: $350

Registration closes 16 Oct 2017, please contact the organiser after this time


APS - College of Health Psychologists - VIC
Contact Health College
0438 058 026