Leading the way in European palliative care

The first Leadership Course of the European Palliative Care Academy got off to a flying start in Cologne in September.

Twenty participants joined us at the Centre for Palliative Care at the University Hospital in Cologne from 23-27 September 2013 for the first week of this new and exciting course delivered by the European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA). They came from all across Europe including: Albania, Belgium, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The participants bring a great deal of experience in palliative care to the table, ranging from years of experience as a nurse or doctor in a hospice to being advocates for palliative care in their respective countries.

Albert Leka, for example, comes from Albania where palliative care is still a very young discipline. One of his personal learning objectives for the European Palliative Care Academy is the improvement of his advocacy skills in order to more effectively influence policies for adequate availability of pain-relieving medication in his country.
The EUPCA is a unique further education course that prepares palliative care professionals from the whole of Europe for prospective leadership tasks in their professional lives. The contents of the course include sessions on Personal Development, Project Management, Team Work, Research Methods and Advocacy.

In Cologne the participants received training and tutorials on Project Management and Personal Development. Moreover, they had a chance to experience palliative and hospice care in Germany with the example of the Centre for Palliative Care at the University Hospital of Cologne and Rondorf Hospice.

“We are very pleased with the absolutely positive and exciting evaluation of this kick-off week by the participants” said Professor Raymond Voltz, Director of the Centre of Palliative Care at the University Hospital of Cologne. The feedback received so far was very positive and encouraging with participants commenting primarily on the organisation of the week and the inspiring new colleagues that they had the opportunity to meet: “Really wonderful, both academically but also in creating new networks or meeting interesting and inspiring colleagues”.

The second course week will be held in March in Bydgoszcz, Poland, we hope to bring you more news from course participants.

Authors: Gerrit Frerich and Heather Graham, EUPCA Coordinating Office