Certificate in Palliative Support (Level 4)


Next Intake Date: Monday 8 February 2021 

Enrolment Deadline: Sunday 24 January 2021. Applications are being accepted now (Late Applications will be accepted based on availability of a place)

Tuition Fee: New Zealand Residents or Citizens - No Cost Scholarships 

Tuition Fee: International Students on a Work Visa - Contact us for fee information


The Kalandra Certificate in Palliative Support (Level 4) is a NZQA approved training scheme designed to train Health Care Assistants in Palliative support professional practices, skills, knowledge and procedures.  This training enables graduates to provide the highest standard of person-centred care and support for clients diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, and to facilitate an optimal quality of life and dignity during the process of dying and eventually death. 

The training scheme is delivered ONLINE with no time off work required.

Students are provided with an individual learning plan and are supported throughout their study by experienced lecturers. 


As a guide some of the issues, practices and skills covered in this training scheme are:

  • End-of-life Stage: Understand diseases and disorders that present during the end-of-life stage.
  • Palliative Principles: Understand and apply palliative principles including medical and non-medical concepts, reason, experience, tradition, and culture. 
  • Advocacy: Gain skills in advocating for a terminally-ill patient experiencing abuse, neglect or vulnerability; understanding the role of self-advocacy and the decision-making process.
  • Pastoral Care: Understand pastoral care and how to manage expectations, loss and grief for the patient, their family and whanau. 

At successful completion of the NZQF Level 4 (21 week) training scheme students will be awarded the Certificate in Palliative Support (Level 4)


Training Scheme Purpose

The Certificate in Palliative Support (Level 4) (Training Scheme) has been designed in response to current employer demand and to the Ministry of Health’s forecasted increase in demand for palliative qualified Health Care Assistants working in a home care, residential facility or support organisation environment, who understand the progression and effects of an end-of-life diagnosis and can provide care which maximises the patient’s daily living experience and manages the challenging aspects of the process. 

The Palliative Support training enables Health Care Assistants who may have a skills gap in this area to study special interest papers in Palliative care as part of their professional development while continuing to work in fulltime employment and for Health Care Assistants to extend their knowledge and ability to work in this specialised field. 


Training Scheme Overview

NZQF Level 4 Training Scheme

Total credits: 42 

Delivery length: 21 weeks 

Total learning hours: 420

Directed online learning: 12 hours per week  

Work placement / Current place of work: 8 Hours per week


The Certificate in Palliative Support (Level 4) training scheme is taught in four courses. (*subject to change)

Course One - Palliative Care: (14 credits) 

This course introduces the principles of Palliative Care by integrating various sources of information and expanding the student’s knowledge and own personal approach on how to support their patient’s end-of-life journey and how to extend this care to the patient’s family or wh?nau.

  • Support terminally ill patients by understanding palliative theory.
  • Apply the principles and practices of a palliative care approach.
  • Understand and apply medical and non-medical concepts, reason, experience, tradition, and culture. 


Course Two: Diseases and Disorders - (11 credits) 

This course introduces students to common diseases and disorders associated with chronic and long-term illnesses that present in the human body when a patient is experiencing their end-of-life stage.

  • Understand how to select and apply palliative care in response to common pathologies while providing comfort in a palliative care environment.
  • Understand expectations and requirements of the palliative journey and how this can impact the patient, their family and whanau.


Course Three: Advocacy - (10 credits) 

This course introduces students to the role of advocacy and self-advocacy when working to support terminally-ill patients in a health care setting who are experiencing abuse, neglect or vulnerability.

  • Understand how to recognise potential vulnerability, abuse or neglect.
  • Understand how to respond to the identified needs of a vulnerable person while providing palliative care and support. 
  • Understand and apply knowledge of advocacy, advocacy planning, self-advocacy and the decision-making process required for both the patient and their family.


Course Four:  Pastoral Care - (7 credits) 

This course introduces the concept of pastoral care and the normal response to loss and grief for a patient, their family or wh?nau and for the Health Care Assistant caring for the patient.

  • Understand how to select and apply knowledge of loss and grief to pastoral care situations in a collaborative palliative care environment.
  • Understand ways of responding and how the provision of comfort caring can be available for the patient and their passing.


Training Scheme Outcomes

Graduates, who will already have some prior experience from working in a health and wellbeing setting, will be able to apply the following knowledge and skills as a Health Care Assistant for the benefit of the patient, their family and whanau. The training scheme covers the end-of-life stage, palliative principles, pastoral care and how to manage expectations, loss and grief. Graduates will understand the role of self-advocacy and the decision-making process, gain skills in advocating for a terminally-ill patient, and learn how to provide care that facilitates an optimal quality of dignity and end-of-life for the patient.

  • Basic Medical Knowledge: General medical knowledge. For example, the ability to perform basic nursing/health care assistant activities to support the patient’s palliative care needs and aspirations. 
  • Palliative Care Concepts and Procedures: Able to select and apply core palliative care concepts and procedures. For example, understanding concepts of patient respect and sensitivity around statements about death and dying.
  • Practical Ability: Contribute to and deliver palliative care in practical health care settings.
  • Contribute to Care Environment: Select and apply palliative care, advocacy, and pastoral concepts in practical health care situations. 
  • Personal Responsibility for Learning: Demonstrate some responsibility for own learning, this is explicit in the training scheme as the scheme is implemented with distance delivery, and with workplace and academic mentoring and support.  
  • Meaningful Communication: Interact with others via meaningfully participation including the patients in their care. This includes:
    • making enquiries regarding the patient’s disposition.
    • active listening as required. 
    • sitting respectfully to support the use of affirmation, prayer, silence or other tangible or spiritual devotion for the patient’s benefit. 


Training Scheme Pathways

Employment Pathway: Graduates can be employed in roles such as:

  • Healthcare Assistant – Aged Care / Hospice.
  • Homecare Support Worker.
  • Caregiver.


Entry Criteria 

New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident

  • Age: A minimum of 18 years of age.
  • Employed as a Level 4 Health Care Assistant in a New Zealand care facility or care organisation for the duration of their enrolment in this training scheme. 
  • Has been awarded a qualification at level 4 or higher on the NZQF, or equivalent. 
  • Provide evidence of being a fit and proper person (or this evidence is provided by their employer as part of their employment relationship). 
  • Endorsed by their employer (DHB or official contracting organisation) to undertake this training scheme OR provide an employment contract. 
  • Has access to the Internet and a device that will allow them to access the Intuto portal and write simple documents and complete assessments, usually, a word processor is sufficient. 

International Students 

  • As above PLUS
  • Employed as a Level 4 Health Care Assistant in a New Zealand care facility or care organisation for the duration of their enrolment in this training scheme. 
  • Note: the employer of the international student (an employee on a work visa, or equivalent) enrolling in this training scheme organises this training, requires the training and organises the funding for the training. 

To Apply

Download the appropriate Application form form the Get In Touch section at the bottom of this page.

Complete the Application form, Refer to Eligibiility Criteria and return all required supporting documents including  ID (Passport) to online@kalandra.ac.nz

Campus Hours Over Christmas

Kalandra is closed from cob Wednesday 16 December until Monday 11 December

Applications sent in during this period will be processed once the Campus reopens, and applicants will be notified as soon as possible.

Student Handbook 2020

Click on this link to download the 2020 Student Handbook

Kalandra Graduate Testimonials

Read what some of our graduates think about studying at Kalandra.

  • Karen Rowley: "This year I undertook the Certificate in Palliative Support (Level 4). This course is perhaps one of the most informative and in-depth I have done. It challenged my beliefs and gave me a broader understanding of the complexities of palliative care whilst dealing with the person as a whole rather than treating the illness as a separate component.Learning about the total suffering model was the most profound and meaningful thing I took out of this course and has significantly influenced the way not only how I engage with our patients but with people in general. At work this approach has resulted in increased competency and patient satisfaction as I tweaked what I thought were insignificant factors that meant so much to the patient. For this I say thank you.Like many others Covid has had a significant impact on my life and during this time I lost two family members (due to NON covid circumstances.) During this time I lost my momentum and had it not been for Nataylia, my amazing tutor (this lady rocks) and Christine our campus mum (for coaxing me through this and the patience of a saint) I most likely would have quit. From the bottom of my heart I thank you both, your kindness will never be forgotten. For anyone undertaking this course you will not only be in good hands but the knowledge you take from this course will significantly influence one's competency within the field of palliative care."
  • Lois Filipi: "I really enjoy my job as a Health Care Assistant now because after studying at Kalandra, and getting so much support from my tutor........I now know what I am doing and am confident in myself and my knowledge.: Read more......
  • Maraea Tauhinu:"I have greater understanding and compassion for  elderly people and how to respect each person’s culture, privacy, values and rights, and the importance of confidentiality." Read more...... 
  • Ann Uale: "I know the patients are individual people and understand how important it is to treat them with kindness......My son sees me caring for other people and says he now wants to be a doctor and do the same as me. I feel really happy about that and proud about all the knowledge I have gained." Read more......

Why Study With Kalandra

Find out more about who we are and the value of our programmes to students and the health care sector.

Tuition is Online

It is required that you have internet and a device in order to complete your studies successfully.

You need to be able to access: facebook, online learner platform, undertake research online, have word, excel, powerpoint etc.


Link to Mobile Compare which identifies internet providers and allows you to compare the options.

The following computer suppliers have competitively-priced example devices:

Updated 30 March 2020

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Campus Hours Over Christmas:

Kalandra is closed from cob Wednesday 16 December until Monday 11 December

Applications sent in during this period will be processed once the Campus reopens, and applicants will be notified as soon as possible/

To Apply:

Select which Residency Category applies to you. Fill out the appropriate Application form, include ID (Passport Photocopy) and email to online@kalandra.ac.nz

The Application forms are editable Pdf's

  • Download the form
  • Save and rename with applicant's name
  • TThe form can now be completed digitally and does not need printing out or scanning

NZ Citizens or Permanent Residents

International Students - Currently Onshore in NZ 

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