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

Applications for EUPCA 2017-19 now being accepted!

Are you a palliative care expert who wants to make a difference and is looking for an advanced international training opportunity in palliative care?

Then the European Palliative Care Academy might be what you are looking for. With our innovative palliative care leadership curriculum we can help you develop your theoretical knowledge and skills in the fields of personal and project development, teamwork, research and advocacy. The European Palliative Care Academy was initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and is a joint project of the four academic centres:

· University Hospital of Cologne/ Germany

· King’s College London, Cicely Saunders Institute/ United Kingdom

· Nicolaus Copernicus University Toruń / Poland

· Hospice Casa Sperantei, Brasov/ Romania

Together, these institutions have worked closely together to develop a curriculum aimed at emerging palliative care leaders of all professional backgrounds from across Europe. The new course starts in September 2017. Deadline for applications is June 11th 2017. For further information on the European Palliative Care Academy and the application process, please visit EUPCA’s website.

We’ll also be at the EAPC Conference in Madrid in May where we’ll be happy to discuss EUPCA and the forthcoming course with you. See you there!

Yours faithfully,

Prof. Raymond Voltz, Dr Jonathan Koffman, Rev. Dr Piotr Krakowiak and Prof. Daniela Mosoui

Death & Dying in the Fire Services: Insights from the Observation Week


Juan-Pablo Leiva Santos is a current participant of the European Palliative Care Academy and for his personal project he is designing a curriculum to support death issues for firemen in Spain. He is currently conducting research on the needs of firemen concerning death and dying in their jobs:


“…I found children in a crash car. They were dead. It became dreadful to me because I also have children. It is impossible not to feel it and more challenging to carry on when children are also victims. When I was back home, I pretended that all was going OK… but for some reason my wife knew it was not…”
42 y.o. Fireman


As part of his time with the EUPCA he conducted an Observaiton Week to gain further insight for his project. In this short report he tells us about his time at the University of Bradford in England:

The five days full time work-experience at the University of Bradford has now come to an end. Thanks to the European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA), I had this unique opportunity to be mentored by Prof. Allan Kellehear at the University of Bradford. I had the opportunity and time to exclusively work on my personal project. I was focused on:

  • Performing a qualitative analysis data from focus group methodology used to understand needs and resources firemen have in Spain regarding death & dying.
  • Planning which journal to send the manuscript to.
  • Designing the curriculum after doing the thematic analysis.
  • Writing an abstract to send to the EAPC 2017 in Madrid.
  • Doing a wide literature search review on Health, Psycho, Social and Trade & Industry search engines.

The Observation Week and asking Professor Allan Kellehear to mentor me on this project at the University of Bradford has been one of the most worthwhile things I could ever do. Working in a subject area related to compassionate community was a fantastic experience full of learning in a wonderful human atmosphere. The Heaton Mount facilities at the University of Bradford, were essentially unique as a host. This inspiring place provided me a special kind of feeling of well-being which pushed me more to get inspired in my work. Following my Observation Week, the conclusion remains that there is a substantial need for education regarding death and dying issues for firemen. This shall be addressed in the further work on the project to establish a curriculum to fill this educational gap for firemen in Spain.


Learn more about Juan-Pablo’s project

Learn more about the personal project


Authors: Juan-Pablo Leiva Santos and Heather Graham

Observation week at one of the UK’s leading cancer centres


Matthias Villalobos, a current participant of the EUPCA, conducted his Observation Week at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust in London. Matthias wanted to gain further insight for his personal project on the implementation of a palliative care consultation for patients in oncological trials, “I decided to apply for the observation week at this institution as it surely represents internationally renowned best practice.” Guy’s and St Thomas’ are two of the largest hospitals in central London and constitute one common NHS Trust. St Thomas’ is one of the oldest health care facilities in London including the first palliative care team in a UK general hospital founded by Dr Thelma Bates in 1977. Guy’s is one of the country’s leading cancer centres, treating more cancer patients than any other provider in London. Consequently, it also offers a large portfolio of clinical trials (phase I-III), with more than 1500 patients participating each year.


During his observation week he had the opportunity for extensive exchanges with many different team members and was allowed to accompany the team during ward rounds and consultations at the Palliative Care Out-Patient Department both at St Thomas’ and Guy’s. Due to the fact that palliative care is fully integrated in the healthcare system at the visited hospital, Matthias was able to learn valuable lessons for his project and his routine work in Germany at the University Hospital of Heidelberg. Although Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust did not have a specific palliative care consultation for patients in oncological Trials, they acted as a bridge to the palliative care team. Matthias remains convinced of the benefits of honest communication with facilitation of advance care planning and early pro-active discussions about end-of-life treatment for oncological patients and feels that this communication should not be “interrupted” by clinical trials. All in all, Matthias summarized his Observation Week as a “most valuable experience” and thanks Dr. Teresa Beynon and her entire team for their support and cooperation.

Learn more about Matthias’ project

Learn more about the personal project


Authors: Matthias Villalobos and Heather Graham