Team-based Palliative Care Essentials for Parkinson’s Disease


Course Launching December 1, 2022

Palliative care is an approach to the care of people living with serious illness and their families that focuses on reducing suffering through symptom management, psychosocial support, and planning for the future. There is increasing evidence that palliative care can improve outcomes for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). While some aspects of palliative care require formal training (specialist palliative care), many aspects can and should be provided by non-palliative care specialists (primary palliative care) such as neurologists and other professionals who provide care for people with PD.

The goals of this course are to introduce members of the interprofessional team, to the principles of palliative care (Lesson 1), to demonstrate how these principles can be applied within the context of interprofessional care for people with PD (Lessons 2-9), and to provide suggestions on how palliative care can be integrated into existing frameworks of care for people with PD (Lesson 10).

Topics covered in this course include serious illness communication strategies, complex symptom management (pain), goals of care and advance planning, spiritual wellbeing and difficult emotions, dementia, care partner assessment and support, self-care for providers, and end-of-life care.

This comprehensive, 11-hour course is divided into 10 Lessons.

This course was originally developed as part of a project to implement primary palliative care across US Parkinson’s Foundation Centers of Excellence(COE). References are made to the original project in the course content and by speakers throughout this course.

Key Words: Palliative Care, Centers of Excellence, Comprehensive Care Centers, Global Care Network

Target Audience

  • Physicians 
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers

Learning Objectives

At the end of this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Have the foundational knowledge and skills essential to Palliative Care (PC)
  • Use PC approaches as appropriate for their specific interprofessional roles within the COE
  • Know strategies to address barriers, identify opportunities, and work as part of an interprofessional team to implement PC
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 11.00 AAPA Category I CME
  • 11.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
  • 11.00 ANCC
  • 11.00 ASWB ACE
  • 11.00 IPCE Credit™
  • 11.00 Participation
Course opens: 
Course expires: 


Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, FAAN Professor
Departments of Neurology and Medicine University of Rochester
Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, FAAN is a professor of neurology and medicine, and Director of the Palliative Care Research Center and Neuropalliative Care Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. In addition to seeing patients in neurology supportive and palliative care clinics and via telemedicine, he directs an active research program working towards improving therapies for non-motor symptoms and improving standards of care for patients and caregivers through supportive and palliative care models. His research has been funded by the Michael J Fox Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Dr. Kluger completed his undergraduate degree in psychology, medical school and neurology residency at the University of Colorado, and fellowships in movement disorders and behavioral neurology at the University of Florida. He was a professor at the University of Colorado from 2008 to 2019, where he set up one of the first neuropalliative care programs in the US.
Thomas Carroll, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine University of Rochester 
Dr. Thomas Carroll is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and then completed his internal medicine training at the University of Rochester where he subsequently served as Chief Resident and completed the fellowship program in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Carroll practices both general internal medicine and palliative care in the office and hospital settings. He also directs the Advanced Communication Training (ACT) Program (, which seeks to improve patient care by supporting communication excellence among individual clinicians and clinical teams. His interests include communication training, medical education at all stages of training, bioethics, and moral theology.
Christina Vaughan, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Neurology and Medicine University of Colorado
Christina Vaughan, MD, MHS, is an associate professor of Neurology and Medicine at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus and Chief of the section of Neuropalliative Care. She began her medical career focused first on basic science through a pre-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NIH), followed by a master’s degree program in public mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed medical school in her hometown at the State University of NY at Buffalo, followed by neurology residency at the University of Pittsburgh. Having grown up with 2 immediate family members living with Parkinson disease, she chose to pursue fellowship training in Movement Disorders which she completed at Rush University in Chicago. She took a faculty position at the Medical University of South Carolina where she worked for several years as Associate Program Director for Movement Disorders. Dr. Vaughan realized that she wanted to care for patients and families in a more comprehensive way which led her to pursue a fellowship in Palliative Medicine which she completed at the combined program in San Diego at Scripps/UCSD. She spent this year learning how to work with an interdisciplinary team to come alongside patients and families, improving life and providing comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses. She was thrilled to find a position that combined her expertise in both neurology and palliative medicine at the University of Colorado and joined the faculty in 2017. She is Board certified in both Neurology and Palliative Medicine. She has 6 neuro-palliative clinics per week (including one at the VA Medical Center) where she sees patients with a multitude of chronic neurologic diseases. She also attends the inpatient Palliative Care service at UC Health Hospital. In her role as clinician-educator she is heavily involved in teaching at all levels of medical training and is also participating in several clinical research projects assessing the unique palliative care needs in populations such as those with early onset dementia. She thoroughly enjoys hearing the narratives of her patients and families to understand better what life was like before the illness and what’s most important now – to try and match up goals of care to what is medically possible in order to help patients have better days and optimize quality of life.


Fred Marshall, MD Professor
Departments of Neurology and Medicine University of Rochester

Frederick Marshall, MD attended Swarthmore College where he studied Psychology with minors in Philosophy and Biology before getting his MD from Harvard Medical School and completing his Neurology training at the Harvard Longwood program. He moved to Rochester for an NINDS-funded Fellowship in Experimental Therapeutics of Neurodegenerative Disorders, focusing primarily on Movement Disorders and CognitiveBehavioral Neurology, and has remained there for his career. He is Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Division of Geriatric Neurology at the University of Rochester. Fred also teaches Mindful Practice – a curriculum for clinicians and medical educators combining formal and informal meditation, narrative, and appreciative interviewing to enhance the quality of our care, our caring, and our resilience.


Judy Long
Palliative Care Chaplain and Educator Division of Palliative Medicine
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Judy Long is a palliative care chaplain and educator at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where she served on two multi-site studies as chaplain with the neuropalliative care team for people living with advanced Parkinson’s Disease and related disorders. She developed and teaches a live online 8-week course in sustainable caregiving for care partners of those living with neurologic illness and a 6-week resilience course for people with neurologic illness. She contributed two chapters (Spiritual Care and Clinician SelfCare) to the book Neuropalliative Care: a guide to improving the lives of patients and families affected by neurologic disease, CJ Creutzfeldt, BM Kluger, RG Holloway – 2018, developed modules on spiritual care and clinician resilience for EPECNeurology, 2018, and co-developed a module of clinician self-care for the Parkinson’s Foundations Centers of Excellence, 2021. Rev Long also offered presentations on living well with Parkinson’s Disease for the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Parkinson’s Foundation, and on spiritual care for those living with neurologic illness for the Spiritual Care Association. She serves on the education and membership committees of the new International Neuropalliative Care Society and is excited to see the growth of this burgeoning and much needed community of neuropalliative care. Rev Long trained at the University of Maryland, Santa Clara University, and Upaya Institute, where her studies focused on caregiver resilience and her professional thesis focused on clinician resilience. She is an instructor of mindfulness-based compassion and emotional balance interventions and continues to design and deliver curricula for resilience training.


Janis Miyasaki, MD, MEd, FRCPC, FAAN
Director, Parkinson and Movement Disorders Program and Co-Director, the Complex Neurologic Symptoms Clinic
Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Medicine Professor, University of Alberta, University of Rochester

Dr. Miyasaki completed her training and movement disorders fellowship at the University of Toronto. After being on faculty for 16 years, she joined the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Currently, Janis is the Director of the Parkinson and Movement Disorders Program and the Co-Director of the Neuropalliative and Advanced Symptom Management Clinic, the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the Department of Medicine. She started the first neurologist-led Palliative care for Parkinson disease program in 2007. Since then, she has published broadly and spoken internationally on neuropalliative care.


Sue Oullette, Ph.D., Chaplain Neurology Supportive and Palliative Care University of Rochester

Sue E. Ouellette is a chaplain with the neurology supportive and palliative care team at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She also holds a secondary appointment there as an assistant professor in Neurology. Sue holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Kent State University as well as M.A. and M.Div. degrees. She is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church. Sue taught at the University of Arkansas and Northern Illinois University and chaired the School of Allied Health at the latter institution. She directed a national federally funded research center at Northern Illinois University and served as the director of research at a similar center at the University of Arkansas. Most of Sue’s research centered on improving vocational and social outcomes for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. She holds the rank of Professor Emeritus at Northern Illinois University, has presented internationally, and has authored numerous publications.



Parkinson’s Foundation adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CE activity, including faculty, planners, reviewers, or others are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

Faculty: Thomas Carrooll, MD, Diane Cook, BA, Jori Fleisher, MD, MSCE, Julie Gissin, Kirk Hall, MBA, Alan Hall, Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, Dave Kyle, Judy Long, BCC, Frederick J. Marshall, MD, Lisa Mann, RN, BSN, MA, Heather Simpson, OTD, OTR/L, Malenna Sumrall, PhD,  Bernadette Skobjak, EdD, Christopher Tarolli, MD, Christina Vaughan, MD, MHS J  PhDLance Wilson, MSS, LSW, C-SWHC, ASW-G, and Nicole Yarab, RN, ave no relevant financial disclosures. 

Tsao-Wei Liang, MD would like to disclose he is a consultant for Abbvie Inc.; Grant/Research Supporter for Abbvie and Abbott Laboratories. 

Planning Committee:  Judy Berk, MS, PA, Thomas Carrooll, MD, PhD, Cari Friedman, LCSW, Ryan Khan, MBIV, BCC, Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, Teresa Long, MS, Sandhya Seshadri, PhD, MA, MS, Lisa Warren, MHS, OTR/L, Lorie Wolfanger, MBA, and Nicole Yarab, RN, have no relevant financial disclosures. 

Content Validators: Justine Chan, MD, Jenna Iseringhausen, BSN, RN, Lynssi Shanklin, LSW, Kaydee Smith, PA-C, and Taylor E. Rush, PhD, have no relevant financial disclosures. 

Activity Director: Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, has no relevant financial disclosures

Planners: Megan Dini and Isabelle Lehner have no relevant financial disclosures. 


Isabelle Lehner

has no relevant financial relationships to disclose at this time.

This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 11.00 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change. 

Parkinson’s Foundation designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 11.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Parkinson’s Foundation has been authorized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to award CNE credit. This activity is designated for  11.00 CNE credits.  Participants should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation.  

Physician Assistants 


Parkinson’s Foundation has been authorized by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) to award AAPA Category 1 CME credit for activities planned in accordance with AAPA CME Criteria. This activity is designated for 11.00 AAPA Category 1 CME credits. Approval valid through October 31, 2025. PAs should only claim credit commensurate with the extent.   

Social Workers 

As a Jointly Accredited Organization, Parkinson’s Foundation is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Parkinson’s Foundation maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 11.00 ASWB credits continuing education credits. 




Available Credit

  • 11.00 AAPA Category I CME
  • 11.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
  • 11.00 ANCC
  • 11.00 ASWB ACE
  • 11.00 IPCE Credit™
  • 11.00 Participation
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