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2020-2021 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Palliative and Hospice Care

Students wishing to pursue the interprofessional certificate in palliative and hospice care must submit an official GVSU application. The postbaccalaureate graduate palliative/hospice certificate is designed to explore the growing discipline of palliative and hospice care as a health specialty and compassionate care option for persons with terminal or life-limiting illness. The certificate is designed for interested individuals across health and related helping professions who seek to develop focal expertise in the field. This certificate program will review and critique the growing field of hospice and palliative care and explore the common human experience of death and terminal illness from a personal, professional, and societal empathetic perspective.

Program Content

Courses will engage students using multiple teaching strategies, including discussion and debate, case studies, and simulation to expose learners to common challenges surrounding death, dying, and loss in America and other societies. Philosophies of palliative/hospice care and common dilemmas in terminal illness will serve as focal points for discussion. Coursework will consist of in-depth discussions in end-of-life care as well as factors that serve as facilitators or barriers to palliative and/or hospice care utilization.

Program Objectives

At the completion of the certificate, learners will be able to do the following:

  • Contrast the interdisciplinary philosophy and delivery of palliative and hospice care with existing traditional medical models.
  • Delineate common types of pain and pain syndromes that contribute to symptom burden in individuals with life-limiting illness.
  • Develop strategies to alleviate the complex symptoms of individuals with chronic and terminal illness using a team approach.
  • Incorporate behaviors that acknowledge grieving and loss into routine care planning for individuals seeking palliative and hospice care.
  • Assimilate evidence-based strategies into effective provider communication that integrates patients and families as the unit of care.
  • Utilize an interdisciplinary framework to support and develop a plan of care for individuals who require palliative and/or hospice care.


The certificate is designed for an interdisciplinary audience. It is directed toward postbaccalaureate graduates of nursing, social work, pharmacy, spiritual care, occupational and recreational therapy, and others; as well as the roles of physician, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant who wish to gain focused knowledge of the discipline. Admission to Grand Valley State University is required to complete the certificate.

Requirements for Admission

  • Earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited, qualifying university.
  • Cumulative grade point of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale), or permission of instructor.
  • Submission of a curriculum vitae/resume.
  • Application for admission to GVSU.

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