EAPC Congress 2019: Leadership Expert Dr Sally Watson with Keynote at our Pre-Conference Session


The leadership expert Dr Sally Watson will be one of the two keynote speakers at the EUPCA pre-conference session (22nd May 2019, 3.00 – 6.00 p.m., at 16th EAPC World Congress in Berlin).

Dr Watson, who works at Lancaster University, will talk about new approaches for leadership in palliative care.

Here she talks about her leadership experience:

“Leadership has been a powerful theme throughout my career. Eight years service, as a British army officer, exposed me to military styles of leadership, which were value driven, team based, and highly structured around a clear ‘chain of command’.

My transition to civilian life was a planned event in 1985 through a one year Masters in Management Development.  I consciously experimented with both theory and practice to understand the shifts in leadership theory. New models of leadership were emerging that embraced cultural perspectives and so my fascination for discourse analysis began.

These new models challenged the myth of order within an organisation. The organisational metaphor of machine remains popular but it is not sophisticated enough to help leaders today.  The role of emotions in the process of human personal change had a big impact on leadership theory at the time.

Organisational Development became a new field and this shaped my career as a management consultant. On completion of the Masters, I worked for 15 years, on diverse projects with leaders in a full spectrum of private and public sector organisations. My learners could be as diverse as bankers, hotel managers, manufacturing engineers, local government officials, managers, teachers, clinicians, telecommunications experts and social workers.

Leadership development ranged from residential weeks, modules, workshops and work based projects.  The programme designs were highly customised to diverse needs.  This work of developing leaders was inspiring and I was privileged to watch many talented women and men reach senior positions. They did not need an expert to tell them what to do. They needed support and a quality-learning environment to build their confidence.

During this period I realised that reality of leading others did not always match the explosion in literature on leadership.  It occurred to me that theory was trailing behind societal and community changes.  By the early 1990’s, new models of leadership appeared with greater emphasis on transformation and the interaction between leader and followers.  Followership was no longer seen as a passive relationship with a single nominated leader but a critical political dynamic for a leader to understand.

In 1997, my path steered very quickly towards an academic career. I started with a Masters in Peace Studies and researched leadership discourses during the formulation of the Good Friday agreement.  This study morphed into a PhD in Conflict Resolution. During both degrees, I worked full time in the Management School at Lancaster University in UK. I was promoted twice, Head of Management Development and Director of Executive Education.

For 20 years, my career developed in an academic environment. I designed leadership programmes for British, European and International clients. This work brought me into contact with Hospice UK and the International Observatory on End of Life. We created a Masters in Hospice Leadership with an alumnae network of 80 senior leaders across UK.

Organisations are now conceptualized as systems with interdependent teams and units. This organisational model requires new forms of leadership that are more collaborative and involve power sharing. This presents additional burdens on leaders who are likely to be facing external political, economic and social challenges. So now my approach is pragmatic. Leaders need to be aware of different approaches to leadership, knowledgeable and well informed but above all, have confidence in themselves and their unique style. The search for understanding about leadership starts from within.”



Read more about the pre-conference session & join the event: Pre-Conference Session (Event at Facebook)



The Last Aid Project: Cooperation between EUPCA Participants and Alumnus


Georg Bollig, Marius Ciurlionis and Boris Knopf


Two EUPCA students and one alumnus are running an amazing project: Last Aid.

Most people want to die at home. Therefore the public should have knowledge and skills in end-of-life care. Between 2014-2015 pilot courses have been given in Norway, Denmark and Germany that have shown the feasibility and acceptance of the course.

The main goals of the current project were to establish an international Last Aid working group and to reach consensus on the curriculum for an international Last Aid Course.

European organisations such as palliative care organisations, health-services, the church were invited to enter the project working group. Each participating country was allowed to send up to two delegates to the meetings of the working group. The Last Aid Course curriculum from the pilot phase was reviewed and adapted by the working group members from seven countries. Consensus on an international Last Aid Course curriculum has been reached. The international presentation is now finished and work with translation into different languages as well as education of Last Aid Course instructors is ongoing.

For the future the inclusion of more countries is planned. Meetings of the international Last Aid working group shall be held with regular intervals of 1-2 years. In Germany, the second national symposium on Last Aid took place in October 2018.

The concept has won prizes and has been invited to Chancellor Angela Merkel.


Assoc. Professor Dr. med. Georg Bollig, founder of the Last Aid Courses and leader of the international Last Aid working group: “The participation in the EUPCA course has lead to a progress of the the Last Aid project and has been a great help to distribute Last Aid Courses to other European countries.“


We are very happy to hear about the great development of the project as well as the cooperation between EUPCA participants and alumni!


Latest News:

The International Last Aid working Group published an article about it recently. Read it here.

They also established a task force together with EAPC: https://www.eapcnet.eu/eapc-groups/task-forces/last-aid

More information can be found on the homepage: www.lastaid.info or by contacting Georg: georg.bollig@rsyd.dk

European Palliative Care Academy 2017-19: 3rd Course Week in Gdańsk, Poland


At the end of September 2018, our leaders and leaders in the making travelled to Gdańsk for the third course week of the European Palliative Care Academy. The course week was conducted by the Nicolaus Copernicus University of Torun and Hospice Foundation and took place at the Fr. Dutkiewicz Hospice in Gdańsk.

Prof. Rev. Piotr Krakowiak and Dr Anna Janowicz explain:

The focus of the Gdańsk week was on teamwork in palliative care and included aspects of how to build a team as a leader, and how to communicate effectively in that team. Support in the team to prevent burnout and challenges for interdisciplinary teams as well as challenges which arise with spirituality and interculturality were elaborated on during workshops and discussions. The participants also had their next sessions on Project Management, an ongoing module for continuous development where participants are supported and coached on their personal projects.

Sessions were held by many experts in palliative care including Prof. Piotr Krakowiak and Dr Anna Janowicz from Poland (who were also responsible for the course week) and Prof. Raymond Voltz and Dr Christine Kuch from Germany. Prof. Piotr Krakowiak and Dr Anna Janowicz reported that participation of the group was very good and most of the lecturers were received very positively, with many vivid discussions and sharing. What was remarkable this time, that also after the classes discussions among students continued during breaks, after classes and even before them in the mornings.

The EUPCA participants also had the chance to visit the Dutkiewicz Hospice as part of the Local Best Practice module, and hear about various promotional, fundraising and charitable activities of Hospice Foundation, being one of the leaders of palliative care in Poland. The Hospice celebrates 35th Anniversary, being the first home care hospice in Poland, so it was very special time for team from Gdansk. They shared their experiences in caring for adults and children at home and in inward hospice house, showing their cooperation with various groups of volunteers, helping in care, in funding and educating the community.

After the long working days, the participants were tired but full of positive energy, inspirations, knowledge and skills. They have started the week with the visit of Old Town & City Center of Gdansk and toward the conclusion there was a time to celebrate unity in diversity in occasion of the birthday of one of the student with songs of Happy Birthday in 15 different languages during our Gala Dinner.

Students motivated by the teamwork exercises were having great ideas regarding possible future cooperation in the Alumni Association of EUPCA, which they shared with Prof. Raymond Voltz and Prof. Piotr Krakowiak. They were received with attention and asked to present their proposal for Alumni to the Steering Committee of EUPCA.

We look back on a successful week and would like to thank all participants, lecturers and others involved! We hope to meet all of you together in Brasov and to hear your stories at the end of the course.

Innovative Project in Palliative Care


Adriana Caruntu, one of our former participants who is the head of the St. Nectarias Palliative Care Center in Bucharest, Romania, had the idea of implementing a new concept in palliative care. Adriana explains:


“Starting with April 17, 2018, the new concept has been introduced within the St. Nectarias Palliative Care Center, to care for patients with ‘Geneva Lavender Water’. This innovative product has great effects in skin care for patients, especially those who are after chemotherapy or radiotherapy, when the skin is usually stiff and dry. The lavender water is offered free of charge by Mrs. Cristina Militoiu from the lavender garden in Prahova County.

I chose ‘Geneva’ for the lavender water, the place where I discovered the use of this product in palliative care [Adriana has practiced at the European Academy of Palliative Care at Bellerive University Hospital for Palliative Care in Geneva, Switzerland]. I dedicate this innovative care project to patients on October 13, 2018, when international palliative care is celebrated – as a sign of gratitude and appreciation for my collaboration with specialists from several European countries and especially with my teachers EUPCA who helped me become a good professional and a leader.”


European Palliative Care Academy 2017-19: 2nd Course Week in London

The second course week of the European Palliative Care Academy took place in the middle of March. The EUPCA participants spend one week at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London.

The focus of the London week was the research module of the course. Dr Jonathan Koffman, Dr Catherine Evans, and other experts instructed the emerging palliative care leaders on many crucial aspects of research. The Cicely Saunders Institute is known for its cutting-edge research in the field of palliative care which made it the perfect surrounding for the EUPCA participants to develop their knowledge and skill base in the subject of research which is essential for promoting high quality palliative care practices.

The module was introduced with a debate to emphasize the importance of evidence. In following sessions study and questionnaire designs were explained, and participants learned how to plan and conduct a study including quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. Ethical aspects, the development of complex interventions, and methods of critically appraising research papers were also discussed. One participant said: “It is very useful to show how theory and practice are related”.

The EUPCA participants also had the chance to visit the St. Christopher’s Hospice as part of the Local Best Practice module. As the first modern hospice ever built it is a place worth visiting for emerging palliative care leaders to get inspired. Participants really enjoyed the session at the Hospice: “Mary’s memories and experiences were really amazing. The environment and all the staff were so friendly and smart.”

During the sessions of the Personal Development module the topics team and self-awareness were discussed.

As participants had started working on their personal projects in September, there were also Project Management sessions with room to discuss and exchange individual progression, problems and funding.


Thanks to everybody who helped making this great course week in London possible!

EUPCA-Alumni Juan-Pablo published an article about his project – Death in the Fire Services: A curriculum development study.

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”.

If you click here you can read the EAPC Blog entry, including some pictures, about Juan-Pablo’s project.

Forms of assistance for terminally ill people: EUPCA’s project then and now.

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

European Palliative Care Academy 2017-19: 1st Course Week

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!

Psychological Counseling Curriculum in Romania – Kick-off course was a great success!

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.

EUPCA Leadership Course 2017-19

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.