French Online Training Course on Perinatal Palliative Care Launched

In France in 2020, there were more than 2,500 deaths of children under the age of one, with an early neonatal mortality rate of 1.7 per 1,000 births (INSEE 2021). In other French-speaking countries, particularly in Africa, the neonatal mortality rate is higher. Despite advances in medicine, neonatal conditions such as prematurity, infections and anoxic-ischaemia can limit life expectancy, while congenital pathologies remain. Paediatric palliative care is an active form of care that takes into account the physical, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions in a holistic approach. Pediatricians and neonatologists, like palliative care specialists, may care for a terminally ill newborn. The support offered by these teams is essential for many families.

To raise awareness among professionals of the palliative approach in neonatology, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) has developed an introductory online module available on their e-learning platform. This module was first developed in English in 2015, then updated in 2021 , before being translated and made available online in French in 2024. This training course is aimed at all those who may be confronted with situations involving palliative care in the neonatal period (doctors, nurses, social workers, educators, chaplains, teachers and volunteers), regardless of where the care is provided (maternity unit, paediatrics, neonatology, palliative care unit, hospice, home, etc.).

The module covers a number of fundamental principles and specific aspects of perinatal palliative care: antenatal care, advance care planning, communication, end of life care, support for siblings and parents, and bereavement. It also includes clinical cases, reflective activities and audiovisual aids. The course is free, open to all, and can be accessed at www.elearnicpcn.org. The module can be optionally validated and a certificate awarded by answering a series of open-ended questions with short answers.

This translation work was carried out in collaboration with the French Paediatric Palliative Care Society (2spp.fr).  This module on neonatal palliative care is one of a series of short modules on different aspects of paediatric palliative care, several of which are available in French.

The following courses are available in French: