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Curriculum

The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship is a one-year ACGME accredited fellowship that aims to develop leaders in caring for patients with serious illness. The program promotes the growth of the clinician by providing training with a focus on excellence in patient care, research and education in a progressive academic environment.

Curriculum Components

Rotations

The training programs include a robust interdisciplinary education in hospice and palliative care. Introductory orientation clinical rotations include expanded protective half-days for in-depth, just-in-time teaching in response to difficult cases in the first six weeks of the fellowship. Clinical experiences also include pediatrics, elective programs, geriatrics and long-term care.

Inpatient palliative care consultations occur at two distinct hospitals — Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin — to ensure a wide variety of clinical experiences and practice-management styles. Palliative care in the outpatient setting is taught in the Austin Veterans Affairs hospice care as well as an outpatient palliative care program in the community developed by Hospice Austin. Hospice training includes dedicated rotations with Hospice Austin’s interdisciplinary group and block rotations on a dedicated inpatient unit, Christopher House.

To ensure fellows are ready to practice in inpatient, ambulatory or hospice settings upon completion of the fellowship, fellows have a protected day for clinic and hospice care longitudinally over the course of the year.

Protected Time for Outpatient Clinic & Hospice Work

After fellows complete introductory rotations on hospice and palliative care, later rotations have one day of protected time set aside per week for training in both ambulatory palliative care and hospice home care. The outpatient palliative care ambulatory experience is via a half-day clinic with the VA. On alternating weeks, the other half-day is used for hospice work with administrative work, as well as transitions-of-care visits.

Leadership & Innovation Block

A mid-winter Leadership and Innovation block allows expanded protective time for in-depth didactic education in models of team leadership and new innovations in palliative care delivery, partnering with the curriculum design of the Distinction Program in Care Transformation.

Flex Weeks

A two-week block is preserved to allow completion of any unmet requirements for graduation, such as required home visit numbers or transitions of care visits. Fellows can use this time for completion of scholarly projects, additional electives or other approved activities to advance their education to meet personalized goals. In addition, a structured mock board exam will be administered to prepare fellows for successful passage of the actual exam.

Sample Block Rotation Schedule
"Months","Rotation"
"4","Inpatient: Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin"
"2","Inpatient: Dell Seton Medical Center"
"1/2","Hospice introduction block (plus 1/2 day per week longitudinally)"
"1","Hospice inpatient care: Christopher House"
"1","Geriatrics and long-term care"
"1/2","Pediatrics"
"1","Elective (with additional two weeks of flex rotation)"

Didactics

Fellows have the opportunity to engage in the following didactics:

  • Fellows weekly didactic conference
  • Monthly system-wide palliative care learning rounds
  • Journal club
  • Psychosocial research group conference with Livestrong Cancer Institutes
  • Schwartz Rounds

Additional Highlights

Additional highlights of the fellowship include:

  • Longitudinal wellness curriculum with the Blanton Museum of Art
  • Vital talk-based communications workshops
  • Training in innovative care-delivery models in the virtual-visit format and exposure to novel business-model dissemination
  • Curriculum designed to result in case presentations and quality improvement projects ready for submission to regional and national meetings