Juan-Pablo Leiva Santos from Spain participated in the EUPCA leadership course 2015-2017. Within the course he developed a curriculum to improve the resilience of firefighters who are dealing with death and dying on their duty. In a qualitative study he identified needs and resources of firefighters and based a training curriculum on his findings. We are proud to share his publication. Please follow the link to read “Death in the Spanish fire services: a curriculum development study”.
We are happy to share the project story of the EUPCA 2015-2017 alumni Joanna John!
The project “Non-medical forms of assistance for terminally ill cancer patients. Wide-range training for volunteers” was provided by Archdiocesean Home’s Hospice bl. John Paul II from September 2015 to February 2017. It was addressed at people without medical experience, but with a strong interest in helping and supporting hospice patients.
The projects main objective was to teach forms and practices for implementing this support, drawing on participants’ individual abilities or even their free time.
Students Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology, University of Silesia, participated in the project’s first module. Here, they could learn to improve their communication with patients in the terminal stage by means of a lecture and a subsequent practical training. A variation of important topics was addressed, including Active Listening, Troubles in Communication, Volunteer Self-Protection and others.
As a next step, participants had the chance to apply their newly gained knowledge in a ward by talking and being with patients. At the end of the module participants had prepared workshops for our hospice’s volunteers with minimum stay of one year. These workshops focused on the communication with patient relatives as well as managing difficult situations. Our volunteers could also use these workshops as a welcome opportunity to exchange their knowledge.
Voluntary Work in Action was the subject of the next two modules. It revolved around educational meetings in kindergartens, schools, parishes etc. in Silesia Voivodeship. We promoted palliative care in these institutions and invited people to become our volunteers in action. Interested people could then participate in fairs, collections and other projects as for example the one of Mrs. Iwona, one of our volunteers. She began her volunteer work by preparing beautiful and unique handicraft paper-daffodils to sell at the fair. By now, she has become a corporate volunteer – as a PKO employee – and helps us cooperate with the PKO Foundation which kindly gave us a donation as well. As indicated above, an important part of our project was the development of manual activities for patients. We used different techniques in our workshops, for example decouphage and artichoke handicraft, among others. This way, we could find out which techniques and materials will be suitable for our patients. This activity drew a lot of support by elderly people who helped us prepare handicrafts for the fair. In the first module, too, elderly people were among those helping out the patients, for example by spending time with them in the ward.
How I can help? Is it a place for me? These questions indicate the general doubt among the people thinking about volunteering in hospice. The reason behind our project was the idea to answer these questions. Therefore, we can show potential candidates a variety of forms to be of help for people in the terminal stage. EUPCA’s project shows how much volunteers support palliative care.
Author: Joanna John, Volunteer coordinator
The Centre for Palliative Medicine of the University Hospital of Cologne welcomed the third cohort of EUPCA (European Palliative Care Academy) participants from September 25th till 29th. The 20 future palliative care leaders from 13 countries around Europe were selected during the application process in the early summer.
Aim of this unique further education course is to prepare specialists in palliative care for prospective leadership tasks in their professional lives. The European Palliative Care Academy focuses on Personal Development, Project Management, Teamwork, Research Methods and Advocacy and supports participants to successfully implement their personal project in their region or institution.
During the first course week in Cologne all modules where introduced and the participants archived skills primary in Personal Development, tutored by Prof. Dr Daniela Mosoiu and Malina Dumitrescu from Romania and Project Management, tutored by Prof. Dr Raymond Voltz and Dr Christiane Kuch from Germany.
The group turned out to be a great mix from different countries, professions and backgrounds which made lively group sessions and interesting discussions possible.
We look back on a successful week and would like to thank all participants, lecturers and others involved!
Adriana Caruntu, participant of the 2015 – 2017 EUPCA Leadership Course, successfully started implementing her Personal Project in Romania. Her aim is to advance palliative care through a psychological counseling curriculum. The training of psychologists working in Palliative Care will improve professionals’ daily activities and patients’ quality of life. Learn more about Adriana and her project.
The first training course based on the psychological counseling curriculum in palliative care has recently ended in Bucharest, Romania. The course was structured into five modules which took place in June and July 2017. Adriana Caruntu was a lecturer in the first module. The second and third module were supported by the psychologist Mrs. Diana Vasile. Mrs. Florentina Nicolescu gave support in the fourth module and Mrs. Luxita Bara in the fifth module, both are psychologists, too. The course was considered a success for both – lecturers and participants.
Adriana says: “I thank my psychologist colleagues at the Institute for Trauma Study and Trauma for getting involved in writing and implementing the project, but also to my EUPCA teachers who have been able to develop my skills and contribute to my evolution as a palliative care specialist, to initiate an innovative project in Romania and last but not least, I would like to thank Mrs. Malina Dumitrescu who recommended me to join the EUPCA.
Many interesting candidates applied for the next course run of the EUPCA Leadership Course. Over the past few weeks, the Steering Committee of the European Palliative Care Academy has carefully reached a decision concerning the next group of emerging palliative care leaders. 20 participants have now been selected. The course will kick off at the end of September with the first course week in Cologne, Germany. Participants will have the first chance to meet each other and the lecturers, receive an introduction into the course weeks to come and make a start on their Personal Project with the Project Management Module. We look forward to welcoming all the new participants and starting the next run of this inspiring course. Please see the timeline for more information about the upcoming course weeks.
The European Palliative Care Academy had the chance to attend the 15th EAPC World Congress which took place in Madrid from the 18th to the 20th May. According to the EAPC Website, this year there were approximately 2,800 People in attendance from a wide variety of backgrounds in palliative care from both Europe and the wider international community.
EUPCA held a meet the experts session, presented an academic poster on the development of EUPCA over the past 5 years and had a stand where people were free to visit us and talk about the course. It was a great opportunity to see old faces and learn about their sucesses as well as to meet new people and spread the word about EUPCA.
The central goal of the European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA) Leadership Course is to develop leaders equipped with necessary competencies to advance palliative care across Europe. Through the mandatory personal project, participants are encouraged to develop these skills while affecting positive change in palliative care in their home region.
Adriana Caruntu, a recently graduated member of EUPCA Leadership Course 2015-17, recognised a need for a psychological counselling curriculum in palliative care in her home country of Romania. She made it her goal to provide this for Romanian palliative care specialists in order to improve patients’ quality of life and quality of services in palliative care. Here she tells us about the project she developed as part of her time with us.
In 2015, with the beginning of my time at the EUPCA, I started this project with the desire to contribute significantly in palliative care on a national level. Over the course of the next two years, I received guidance from teachers from the EUPCA which was of great importantance for the development of my project.
As part of my time with the EUPCA, I gained experiences central to the quality of my project. Firstly, my observation week at Hospital Bellerive in Geneva, Switzerland allowed me to gain important insights into psychological counselling in palliative care. Moreover, the Local Best Practice module offered by the EUPCA broadened my knowledge of palliative care in Europe. Of particular significance for my project was the time at St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK.
This project was not simple or easy to achieve. At the same time as investing time and effort for the successful completion of the project, I worked as a manager of the St. Nectarios Palliative Care Center Bucharest, a position which requires a lot of responsiblity. When, after months of effort, we were able to publish ,,Psychological Counseling Curriculum in Palliative Care” and conducted the first course for specialists it was great a great achievement for myself and everyone involved. Nothing can be more beautiful than to see your dream fulfilled. I can say that due to the EUPCA, this dream has come true for me!
Applications are now being accepted for the Leadership Course 2017-19. Click here for more information.
The end of March saw the culmination of the 2015-17 European Palliative Care Academy – Leadership Course in Brasov, Romania. 19 participants from a total of 10 European countries successfully graduated and were awarded at a ceremony on the last day of the course week. Also at the ceremony were Mirela Nemtanu, CEO of Hospice Casa Sperantei and Alina Pascu, vice-dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Transalvania.
The week itself, which was held at Hospice Casa Sperantei, dealt with the important topic of advocacy, key to the international development of palliative care. Participants were taught by experts in the areas of advocacy techniques, analysing laws and policies, writing briefing notes and position papers, identifying targets for advocacy and building coalitions among other things. In addition to the work on advocacy, participants also concluded their sessions on personal development and the work on their personal projects, which are both longitudinal elements of the Leadership Course. Moreover, the Local Best Practice module was brought to a close by introducing participants to the important work done by Hospice Casa Sperantei. Sessions were held by many experts in palliative care including Professor Daniela Mosoiu, EAPC board member and Frank Ferris, board member of the International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care and member of the EUPCA Advisory Board.
The week was seen by participants to have been a success and particularly praised were the team’s enthusiasm and energy and the overall organisation of the course week, “Very well organised, skilled and very professional lecturers who made every participant feel involved and very active” (EUPCA Participant, 2015-17). Participants were thankful for the inspiring work they were able to see at Hospice Casa Sperantei, “I found your attitude to working in the hospice, providing so much training and working so hard in advocacy absolutely great and it pushes me to do as much as I can in my country. I want to express to you all my gratitude for this great experience. Thank you to everyone, to the Romanian team and to all EUPCA colleagues” (EUPCA Participant 2015-17).
The whole EUPCA team wises all the best to the graduates of the 2015-17 Leadership Course .
Applications are currently being accepted for the EUPCA – Leadership Course 2017-19. Click here for more information.
Current EUPCA participant, Irena Laska, tells us about her work in palliative care and how some of the experiences she has gained throughout her time with the European Palliative Care Academy have inspired her to affect positive change in palliative care in her community:
As part of the EUPCA Leadership Course 2015-17, I spent an observation week at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London. I learned a lot and believe me, it was one of the most memorable and profitable experiences of my entire career as a C.E.O. in palliative care. As professionals in palliative care, we are constantly trying to ease people’s suffering and to give them opportunities to live fully until they die. It was my experience at St. Christopher’s that helped me understand that there is a place for everyone to be able to achieve this in palliative care. Inspired by what I saw at St Christopher’s on striving to provide quality of life to all patients, I have been putting all my effort into fulfilling one of our community’s goals – to give our patients a new, small, well-equipped gym as part of a palliative care facility in Korça City, Albania.
Our aim is always to ensure patients the opportunity for choice and autonomy within the limitations of their advancing illness and the building of this modest gym was welcomed by all of them. We chose the equipment carefully in order to give our patients some possibilities to meet their goals and priorities in different phases of their treatment. We carefully selected suitable equipment to fulfil the needs of the patients:
There is an indoor exercise bike in the corner of the gym. It is a lower-impact workout bike in order to keep stress in patients’ joints to a minimum. It also has on-board heart rate programmes.
In the opposite corner we have put the Nordic track treadmill, which provides a professional workout designed for our patients. It has on-board workouts and heart rate programmes as well as a built-in audio point for listening to the radio.
A polished pinewood robust Swedish ladder, which is part of the standard inventory in occupational and physiotherapy practices, is mounted on the wall next to the door of the gym. As a multifunctional device, the wall bars are used for mobilizing our patients who may be too old or feeble to support themselves securely when, for example, they are using the indoor mini trampoline that is also part of the new gym. The patients can start with a simple, low-impact bounce where their feet never even leave the surface of the trampoline. We have learned that jogging on a mini trampoline feels less strenuous than jogging on a treadmill, so this is very appropriate for the users of the gym.
Part of the inventory is also a stability ball (also called exercise ball, balance ball or fitness ball) which is great for getting back into shape after an operation because it can reduce muscle and spinal strain during certain movements.
Dumbbells of 1 kg and 2kg are there for those who may want to train one side of the body in order to cure any strength imbalances they have developed. They may also use the resistance bands to train their arms or legs and can climb up and down the stairs in the corner of the room. The posters on the walls are very inspiring and colourful and enhance the optimistic atmosphere in the gym.
We are very proud of the work which has been put into the development of this special space for our patients. Thank you to the staff of St. Christopher’s and to the EUPCA programme for your help and support in developing palliative care services in Albania.
Author: Irena Laska