Grantee details

Traveling Scholars Program Report

Marija Inesa Poniskaitene, MD

Travel date: May 18, 2017

Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 15th European Association Palliative Care Conference

Origin: Kaunas, Lithuania / Destination: Madrid, Spain

How was this meeting/activity helpful to you?

I received more experience in palliative care, found new contacts and got more flight imagination how to work in this field.

How will you new knowledge & acquired skills help in furthering your work in hospice and palliative care in your program/city/ or country?

New knowledge will influence my work directly. I suppose to improve my competence as physician and researcher. We began to deal our experience with other our colleagues who work in Palliative Care. We foresee to make the better evaluation of patients and to make efforts to fight better with breakthrough pain and other clinical symptoms of terminally ill patients. We fixed to participate in the conferences about 15th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care in our cities Vilnius and Siauliai next month.

How IAHPC Traveling Scholars Program be improved in order to help other future traveling scholars?

 I cannot imagine the better organization of Congress as you did. It was the immense work and we are very thankful to you. 

Narrative summary highlighting the needs and challanges you face

The development of palliative care in Lithuania began in 1993. We have come a long way to turn it into modern, efficient, well-organised service, nevertheless, certain challenges remain: Home care services are scanty and underdeveloped, especially in the remote areas. The result is that demand for admission into palliative care hospitals is much higher than their actual capacity, while a significant proportion of patients could be well served by home care services at their home if only these services were sufficiently developed. However, due to the absence of viable support for home care, these people have no alternative but to apply for admission into a hospital. The solution is strengthening and further developing home care services throughout the country, so that there is a viable alternative for hospitalization; Absence of medicine for controlling outbreak pain (Phentanyl sublingual tablets): this is due to the fact that currently this medicine is not compensated by the National Health Insurance Fund; The underdeveloped spiritual help of palliative care; 1) Absence of specializations in palliative care. This is partly related to the fact that palliative care is relatively new development in Lithuania, and while classes on palliative care are included in the training curricula of current and future medical staff, educational program specifically designed for specialists of palliative care (both doctors and nurses) has not yet been developed; 2) Insufficient number of volunteers in palliative care. This is related to a broader challenge of further strengthening civil society and citizen participation in community life. The positive development is that in the last two years we have seen a certain rise in the number of volunteers in palliative care; 3) Underuse of methods like music and art therapy, although it is encouraging that Vilnius University started to train specialists in music therapy; 4) Insufficient funding.