What is Patch Academy?

Patch Academy is an online training platform created as an educational resource for all members of the multidisciplinary team providing care to babies, toddlers, children and young adults with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses and conditions and to their families. Patch Academy provides online learning and certificate courses on the key elements of paediatric palliative care.

Who is eligible to take a Patch Academy Course?

People who take our courses include but are not limited to paediatricians, doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers, pastors and other spiritual leaders, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, art and music therapists. However, the certificate courses are open to anyone with a desire to know more about the practice and delivery of neonatal, perinatal and children’s palliative care. No previous qualification is required.

Why choose a Patch Academy online course?

Patch Academy courses are suited for individual learning and provide stimulating and multi-media content and information for those seeking an interactive and immersive learning experience. Short quizzes, activities, videos and links to relevant research and articles can be found throughout the courses, all of which have been designed to prevent a passive learning experience.

Those undertaking our courses have access to our course coordinator who is just an email away and who will respond to queries and provide assistance as soon as possible.

The process to apply for CPD accreditation for each of the courses has been initiated and these will be added as soon as they have been issued.

 The curriculum

PatchSA cooperated with Bettercare to publish the book Palliative Care for Children: A guide for improving the quality of life of patients and their families in 2020. Bettercare is a trusted brand whose books are used widely in both private and government hospitals and institutions. They offer online learning and encourage the forming of study groups to undertake their courses.

Much of the theoretical content for the Patch Academy courses can be found in the pages of this book which can be purchased from PatchSA  or read online on the Bettercare website.  We highly recommend that those doing our courses and those who work with children requiring palliative care purchase a hard copy of the book for easy reference and revision purposes.

Content experts and trainers

A multidisciplinary team of appropriately qualified South African professionals have collaborated to create the content of the Patch Academy online courses. These include:

Dr Michelle Meiring – Paediatrician with a special interest in palliative care and chronic pain management, founder of Paedspal and convenor of the post-graduate diploma in Paediatric Palliative Medicine at UCT
Dr Julia Ambler – Specialist Paediatric Palliative Care Doctor and co-founder of Umduduzi Hospice Care for Children
Dr Jan du Plessis – Paediatric Oncologist and Head of the Department of Paediatric Oncology at Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein
Joan Marston – Professional Nurse, Founder of Sunflower House Children’s Hospice and International Global Ambassador for Children’s Palliative Care
Melissa Williams – Platt A bereaved parent, Palliative Care Coach, Speaker and Professional Consultant
Tracey Brand – Medical Social Worker and co-founder of Umduduzi Hospice Care for Children
Tracy Rawlins – Professional nurse, midwife and health educator and Training Manager at PatchSA
Sue Boucher – Professional teacher, author and Project and Communications Manager at PatchSA

What courses are presently available?

The following four courses are presently available.

Our latest course: Supporting Grieving Children in the Time of COVID-19

The death of over 54,000 mostly adults in South Africa due to COVID-19 has left thousands of grieving children and grandchildren in it’s devastating wake. In response we have created a brand new course on our Patch Academy website suited for professionals and care givers supporting grieving children at this difficult time. Presently the course is offered completely FREE to anyone interested.

What our experts have to say about the courses

Introducing Children’s Palliative Care

“Children are not little adults, and while the principles of palliative care remain the same for all, it is each unique child – from the tiny neonate to the maturing teenager – who directs the way palliative care is provided for them; always within the framework of childhood development, their changing understanding, and the impact of the condition on the child and their family. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the key principles of this fascinating subject I encourage you to complete the Patch Academy online course, Introducing Children’s Palliative Care, to gain a comprehensive and deeper understanding of the way children experience serious illness and dying, their different forms of expression and communication and how health care providers working together with the child and family help each child to enjoy the best possible quality of life.”
Joan Marston

Communication in Children’s Palliative Care

“Communication is an essential part of life and a crucial factor in medical care. Within a palliative care scenario, it is even more imperative. The Patch Academy module on communication highlights why this is so important and provides key information on how to talk to caregivers and children about goals of care as well as breaking bad news. This is an area many of us struggle with and the information within this module will change the way you practice.”
Tracey Brand

Assessing and Managing Children’s Pain

“This interactive module on assessing and managing pain in children, covers everything you need to know to improve the quality of life for children in pain. For too long children’s pain has been under recognised, underestimated and therefore under treated. Informative, fun and easy to complete, this module is absolutely essential for anyone working with children in healthcare.”
Dr Julia Ambler

What additional courses will Patch Academy offer?

 Over the course of 2021, additional courses to be added to the Patch Academy site include the following:

  • Perinatal and Neonatal Palliative Care
  • Ethics and Decision Making in Children’s Palliative Care
  • Cultural Understanding and Spiritual Care
  • End-of-Life Care for Children
  • Symptom Control in Children’s Palliative Care
  • Holistic Assessment and Palliative Care Planning
  • Psychosocial Care and Support of Families
  • Loss, Grief and Bereavement in Children’s Palliative Care

Visit Patch Academy