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.

And the Award for Palliative Care Leadership Programmes goes to…

We are proud to present you this year’s winner of the Award for Palliative Care Leadership Programmes – and it is not only one but two winners:

Prof. Julia Downing (Uganda) and Leena Pelttari (Austria).

The award was presented at the 15th EAPC World Congress in Madrid by Prof. Philip Larkin on behalf of the EAPC and Prof. Raymond Voltz on behalf of the EUPCA.

Award ceremony in Madrid



About the winners and their programmes:

Award Winner Julia Downing

Prof. Julia Downing serves on the boards of several international NGOs, is Chief Executive of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network and is an Honorary Professor at Makerere University, Kampala, as well as a Visiting Professor at several Universities, and a Honorary Research Fellow with the Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, at King’s College London (England).

Prof. Downing is implementing the Uganda Palliative Care Nurse Leadership Fellowship Programme. This programme develops nurse leaders who will be confident, skilled, resilient and empowered.

It takes place over 18-months, consisting of three one-week intensive training modules in Kampala, Uganda follwed by ongoing mentorship and supervision. The participating nurses are involved in developing and implementing leadership action plans. The 3 modules instruct them in personal development as a leader, how to lead a project and general leadership competencies. Nurses play a key role in the provision of palliative care in Uganda and needs assessments have shown a need for the development of nurse leadership skills.

For more information visit:



Award Winner Leena Pelttari

Leena Pelttari is CEO of the umbrella organisation Hospice Austria, serves on the board of the Master of Science in Palliative Care at the Paracelsus Private Medical University and as Co-Chair of the Taskforce for Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care at the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC).

She ist implementing the Master of Science in Palliative Care. This Master’s Programme is an interdisciplinary educational programme offered in different parts of Austria and created in cooperation with the Paracelsus Private Medical University, Hospice Austria, the Austrian umbrella organization for hospice and Palliative Care organizations, and St. Virgil Salzburg.

The main aim of the programme is not only to qualify health and social care professionals in palliative care, management and leadership, but also to develop new institutions and improve existing structures. The Master has been running since 2006 and contributes to futhering the development of palliative care in the German speaking world. Master’s programme is accredited by the agency for quality assurance and accreditation AQ Austria, and they received an Award for Science and Research from Salzburg in 2014.

For more information visit:


EAPC Congress Madrid 2017


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.




Romania’s first psychological counselling curriculum in palliative care

A. Caruntu_01The 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, I16406955_1877481089164061_3670004902014948715_n 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.

EUPCA Leadership Course 2015-17 – 4th and final course week

Moderation GF SimoneThe 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 17758321_1283915318356574_8067179006473100059_oimportant 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._D3S0263

A palliative care gym: achieving quality of life through exercise

I.Laska_01Current 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.
Irena Laska 01In 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 Irena Laska 02may 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

A little story about a palliative care art project

Iryna Slugotska is a current participant of the European Palliative Care Academy- Leadership Course. She works as a physician at the Regional Clinical Palliative Care Centre in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. In this Report, Iryna tells us about an exciting palliative care art project which her efforst helped support.


The organisation of a palliative care team at home is a step towards creating an integrated system providing palliative care for adults and children. It is important not only to help palliative patients, but also to provide the same comprehensive assistance to members of their families. Help should be given in a convenient place and at a suitable time. Besides this, patients and family members should be able to contact the medical staff on the phone day and night. The first floor of a residential building provided to the palliative care centre by Ivano-Frankivsk City Hall is just such a place. However, we were then faced with the problem of the general repair of this building. The funds for this were, unfortunately, not provided by the budget.


To overcome this obstacle, our team decided to spread the information about it through Facebook. To our surprise, some people from the acting industry from Ivano-Frankivsk and Kyiv responded – the director of our theatre Rostislav Derzhypilskyy and one of Ukraine’s leading actresses, Irma Vitovska. They created a Performance, “Oscar and the Pink Lady” at the Ivano- Frankivsk  theatre. It is  the story about a boy with cancer and the Pink Lady, who fulfils his wishes. We shared information about the Performance on Twitter, Facebook and through other forms of media. As a result, this art Project pIryna storyrovided a charity show of this performance in different cities of Ukraine. It was organised and shown in Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv,  Lviv,  Chernivtsi and Rivne during 2016.  If you would like to see part of the performance, please click here.


The costs raised from these charity shows funded the repairs and construction of a hospice home advisory department. To put the icing on the cake, this art project was honoured with an award for being the best among all charitable projects in Ukraine in 2016. 


Author: Iryna Slugotska