IAHPC Traveling Scholars’ Report – Lithuania

2017; Volume 18, No 7, July

IAHPC Traveling Scholars’ Report – Lithuania

Back to basic human values – palliative care in Lithuania

Three physicians from Lithuania took part in the congress held on 18 to 20 May 2017. Dr. Marija Inesa Poniskaitiene, Dr. Rita Kabasinskiene and Dr. Edita Birskyte presented a poster: Progress of Palliative Care in Lithuania: Occupational Burnout Prevalence and Associated Factors among Kaunas Nursing Hospital Staff’.

Dr. Marija Inesa Poniskaitiene and Dr. Rita Kabasinskiene explain the current challenges facing palliative care in Lithuania, all of which they felt confident had been well addressed at the congress.

Presenting our poster in Madrid, ‘Progress of Palliative Care in Lithuania’: (Left to right) Rita Kabasinskiene, Lina Jakele, Marija Inesa Poniskaitiene and Edita Birskyte.

When our country regained independence in1990 we were back to basic human values – love and compassion for the other person especially the terminally ill. This is the essence of palliative care. Kaunas Nursing Hospital with its palliative care ward was founded in 1993, the first pain clinic in Vilnius in 1994, and the Lithuanian Association of Palliative Medicine (LAPM) followed in 1995. The high palliative care impact continued with a visit from Dame Cicely Saunders to Lithuania and lectures by Professor I. Lukosevicienė from Canada in 1996. Significant achievement came in 2007 when the Ministry of Health made palliative care a separate service for adults and children and in 2008 when basic costs of different forms of palliative care services were set.

We have come a long way in turning palliative care into a modern, efficient, well-organized service but nevertheless certain challenges remain.

Members of the team at Kaunas Nursing Hospital, Lithuania’s first palliative care service opened in 1993.

We feel that the 15th EAPC World Congress addressed all the above issues.

“New knowledge will influence my work directly; improve my competence as a physician and researcher. We foresee being able to improve our evaluation of patients and to fight against breakthrough pain and other clinical symptoms of terminally ill patients. We have already arranged to participate in conferences about the 15th EAPC World Congress in Vilnius and Siauliai next month.”

(Dr. Marija Inesa Poniskaitiene)

“Palliative care has an important place in my life. I think it is special – to the patient and to the persons providing it. It is not enough to have the knowledge to work with palliative care patients. We need to have a working example – we need encouragement, support, training, lectures, [the chance to share] experiences, communication, palliative care news, and friendship with a smile. All this is available with an IAHPC Traveling Scholarship.”

(Dr. Rita Kabasinskiene)

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