Adriana Caruntu

Adriana Caruntu

Saint Nektarios Palliative Care Centre



Psychological Counseling Curriculum in Palliative Care

In Romania there is no psychological counselling curriculum in palliative care. It requires specialized persons, professional books and training courses in this field. When medical specialists are trained, there are clear medical protocols on interventions in palliative care, training courses and experienced trainers. However, in psychological counseling, we do not have the same level of development even though psychological counseling is vital in this area. We all know that drugs cannot take effect if the patient is not treated properly, from a holistic point of view. Psychologists working in palliative care need a curriculum which aims at training them in daily activities with patients in a terminal stage, their families and staff. This psychological curriculum would improve patients’ quality of life, and quality of services in palliative care.



  1. Obtaining models of psychological curricula in palliative care from experienced specialists to be adapted to the specificities of Romania.
  2. Identify the needs of professionals working in palliative care in psychological terms to be included in the new psychological Curricula.


Methods of quantitative and qualitative research were used.

  1. To fulfill the first objective, a survey via e-mail to the National Association for Palliative Care from 7 countries on the existence of a psychological curriculum in palliative care was conducted. Materials about the psychological curricula in palliative care have been received from the European Academy of Palliative Care. Project team members (7 persons) analyzed data obtained and selected materials for writing a psychological curriculum in Romanian.
  2. For the second goal we organized a focus group of 10 specialists working in palliative care at the Center for Palliative Care St. Nectarios in Bucharest (doctors (2), priest (1), social worker (1), nurses medical (3) and nurses (3) who aimed to identify the needs of staff working in palliative care who may need to be helped psychologically in their work.


On an international level, there is a need that this activity be improved by involving specialists from each country. Not all countries have psychological curricula in palliative care. In Germany, curricula on psychology in palliative care are very well developed. Professionals working in palliative care need support mainly to prevent the syndrome of burnout as well as psychologist and personal development training.