Constipation in Palliative Care

50m of CPD
John Rosenberg
15 Nov 2016

Constipation can cause significant pain and discomfort to the individual experiencing it and is one of the most common concerns for patients who are receiving palliative care. This Course focuses on the assessment and management of constipation in palliative care so as to reduce discomfort and improve quality of life.


Explain the significance of constipation in palliative care


Describe how the bowel function of a person receiving palliative care may be assessed


Identify management strategies for constipation in the person with advanced disease


John Rosenberg

John Rosenberg is a Registered Nurse with a clinical background in community-based palliative care. He has worked as an educator and researcher in care of people at the end of life. John was responsible for the development of the postgraduate Chronic Disease Management and Palliative Care suite of courses at the University of Queensland School of Nursing and Midwifery. He is a co-author of the Framework of Competency Standards for Specialist Palliative Care Nursing Practice. John is the immediate past President of Palliative Care Nurses Australia Inc., the peak body for nurses in Australia caring for people at the end of life. He was the inaugural Director of the Calvary Centre for Palliative Care Research in Canberra with the Australian Catholic University. John currently works as a Research Fellow in the Centre for Research Excellence in End of Life Care at Queensland University of Technology.


Patricia Burr16 Oct 2018
I would recommend this education to other health professionals because it is a major concern to patients, can be painful and cause great anxiety.

Erin Louise Davis28 Sep 2018
Informative and interesting

Sabrina Payne14 Sep 2018
Very Informative

Esther Zoe Nunn02 Sep 2018
Important info thanks. I will defiantly pay more attention to assessment and implementation of bowel management regime to detect changes early and respond appropriately.

Very informative

Bertha Nyoni28 Jul 2018
Awesome presentation

Vanessa Muir01 Jul 2018
Useful learning activity. Was hoping to hear about those who have no oral intake. In RACFs, nurses are often prompted to administer aperients when a resident hasn't opened their bowels in 3 days however there is a lot of confusion when it comes to palliative residents who are no longer eating as it is believed that they would no longer be producing stools therefore an aperient would be futile?

Bona marie miranda 17 Jun 2018
Well explained

Elizabeth Burton04 Jun 2018
a good solid foundation learning tool for nurses working with palliative clients.

Melissa Parder31 May 2018

karen nolan30 May 2018
I found the content and explanation very comprehensive and easy to understand

Bec Ozols29 May 2018
Good information

yi jun chen26 May 2018
very good

Lynne Richardson-Cooper25 May 2018
Very enjoyable & informative

yan zhang24 May 2018

Baek Eunyoung24 May 2018
greatly, simply, and well explained.

Kahondo Mutsa19 May 2018
I learnt alot

rosemary britt6217 May 2018
Very informative VLA Nd great presentation

Karamjeet Kaur17 May 2018
I have learned the effective management of constipation in elderly and palliative patients.

Annette richards17 May 2018
This topic was an excellent refresher in reinforcing my current knowledge and evidence based practices.

Linda Paul16 May 2018
Thorough and engaging

Jeanette Coonan26 Apr 2018
I enjoyed this course. Very educational and easy to listen to and understand

siobhan perkins23 Apr 2018


Carmel Spano10 Apr 2018
Very practical simple steps to follow when assessing and evaluating individual patient needs

Joanne Gabbert19 Mar 2018
Informative and well researched area of interest.

Ingrid Slattery14 Mar 2018
I would recommend this education to other health professionals

Limor Weingarten23 Feb 2018
This has reinforced which laxative to use & when

Michelle Madden22 Feb 2018
Concise and articulate presenter.

Eva Bodnar16 Feb 2018
Excellent and very important topic in palliative care setting. I would suggest to spend more time to investigate individuals bowel habit and how can be changed

Steven Walker25 Jan 2018

Haylee Quinn24 Jan 2018
Thank you John, A great refresher on constipation management

Diana Griffiths20 Jan 2018
I would recommend this resource for all nurses, particularly those in palliative care.

Leeanne Nuske09 Jan 2018
very interesting and informative

Course Overview

Topics include:

  • Causes and symptoms of constipation
  • Assessment of bowel function
  • Nursing management of constipation

Target audience

All healthcare professionals, particularly nurses working in palliative care, aged care, and acute and community care settings.


Assist health professionals in the application of best available evidence and expert opinion for the assessment and management of constipation in palliative care.


Constipation is a clinically significant cause of distress for people receiving palliative care and family members who care for them. With the majority of palliative care provided to those over the age of 65, constipation is sure to increase in prevalence. Whether caused by analgesics, impaired mobility, lowered fluid and food input, or disease progression, constipation requires a comprehensive assessment by nurses. With sound assessment, the nurse can identify a constellation of strategies to address the management of constipation in those receiving palliative care. However, there is a need for nursing and medical staff to be more aware of the incidence, causes and effects of constipation, as it is often poorly understood. The need for education in the causes of, approaches to assessment of, and intervention strategies for constipation, is required.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.

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