Travel date: February 24, 2020
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: One week educational Visit to “Our Ladies Hospice”
Origin: Sparta, Greece / Destination: Dublin, Ireland
This scholarship gave me the opportunity to learn for the provision of palliative care by observing an interdisciplinary team in different settings, such as home care, day center and the inpatient unit. This activity helped me identify, compare and improve the common technics we also use in our Palliative Care Unit called “GALILEE”. I was able to learn more about interdisciplinary collaboration and symptom management, mainly pain and constipation. Also, this experience helped me learn different ways to deliver evidence-based and safe skin care. I got familiar with new clinical tools to assess symptom distress and recognize dietary requirements. Moreover, I had the opportunity to enhance my communication skills for breaking bad news, something necessary for professionals working in the palliative care field.
In collaboration with the Clinical Manager of the Palliative Care Unit I work for, we plan to introduce in our daily practice some new clinical tools for assessing the needs of the patients and the results of the interventions. These tools will include patient and provider reports of physical symptoms, mental health issues, caregiver outcomes and processes of care. Furthermore, I will propose some new sessions for the interdisciplinary training seminar, which is organized by “GALILEE” every year and I take part in. My mission is to collaborate and work with my colleagues to improve the quality of life of patients with advanced life-threatening conditions by advancing education and research.
The “GALILEE” is the first Palliative Care Unit for adult patients in Greece and it is a nonprofit organization that was founded by the Holy Diocese of Mesogaias and Lavreotiki. The interdisciplinary team offers palliative care services free of charge to patients with cancer and to patients with ALS. Home care services have been provided since 2010 and the Day Care Center offers occupational therapy and company since 2011. The Inpatient Unit opened its doors on 2018. Palliative care is a quite new service for Greece and, unfortunately, it is not an obligatory part of undergraduate medical training for doctors and nurses. In order to close the gap in access to palliative care in Greece it will require actions such as raising awareness to patients in need, to health care professionals, to the general public and to the State. I believe that continuing training and education are essential for the provision of qualitative palliative care services. Assessment tools can be used as quality indicators, particularly the use of patient- or caregiver- reported data to evaluate care. The specific scholarship gave me the chance to learn from the experience of the health care professionals working in “Our Ladies Hospice” and this knowledge will help me and my colleagues improve the quality of the services that we provide to our patients. Our core values are human dignity, compassion, justice, quality and advocacy. The vision we all share in “GALILEE” is to help to increase and optimize the availability of and access to palliative care for patients and their families in Greece.