European Palliative Care Academy 2015-17: 2nd Course Week

At the beginning of February, our leaders and leaders in the making travelled to London for the second course week of the European Palliative Care Academy. The course week was held at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London.

Experts, Dr Jonathan Koffman, Dr Catherine Evans, Professor Irene Higginson and Dr Richard Harding, among others, instructed the 19 participants on the subject of research that is crucial for building up leadership competencies and of central importance for the advancement of palliative care across Europe. After the introductory debate on the importance of evidence, the participants had sessions on many crucial aspects of research. They were taught how to plan and conduct a study, including study designs and quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection as well as the important aspect of ethical issues in palliative care research. Other important aspects taught were how to develop and evaluate complex interventions or how to critically appraise research papers. Moreover, they had a highly welcomed ‘speed dating ‘session with research experts from the Cicely Saunders Institute. Additionally, Professor Sheila Payne, former president of the EAPC and member of the EUPCA advisory board, taught the participants on the subject of consensus approaches to research in palliative care. As part of the Local Best Practice module, the participants visited St. Christopher’s Hospice, which is widely regarded as being the very first modern hospice ever built. The participants spoke highly of their visit there, describing it as “Very moving! It was great to have the possibility to be in the hospice set up by Cicely Saunders!” Overall the participants were very positive about their experiences in London, “I am really happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of this great week. Thank you so much!”

The next course week will take place in Gdansk, Poland and until that time participants will be busy conducting their personal projects in their home countries and carrying out their observation week at a European palliative care institution of their choice.