2020; Volume 21, No 7, July


New Program: Global Leaders to Advance Palliative Care (GLAD)

IAHPC is pleased to announce the Global Leaders in the Advancement and Development of Palliative Care (GLAD) Program.

The GLAD program is designed to support palliative care workers from any discipline, who have demonstrated leadership capabilities, and who wish to advance palliative care in their own countries in line with United Nations (UN) Organizations resolutions and commitments and builds on the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) to increase global palliative care capacity. The program was designed by a working group of IAHPC board members and officers, including Dingle Spence, Gulnara Kunirova, Harmala Gupta, Mary Callaway, Liliana De Lima, Katherine Pettus, Genevieve Napier, and external advisers Frank Ferris and Shannon Moore.

The GLAD program aligns with the Advocacy thematic areas of work identified in the IAHPC 2020-2024 Strategic Plan. This calls for the integration of palliative care into primary health care, within the spectrum of universal health coverage, and for improved access to essential palliative care medications. The program falls under the Strategic Objective 1.2: “To develop a global cadre of IAHPC members to advocate for improved access to essential palliative care medicines at national, regional and global levels.”

The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020. Leaders will be announced the first week of November 2020.

Applicants will be required to complete an online application and present a project proposal focusing on the implementation in their country of the provisions in one or more of the following Conventions/Resolutions:

  1. Organization of American States: Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons (A-70) (2015). Washington, DC (for applicants residing in Latin American and the Caribbean).
  2. UN. Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, 2019. NY.
  3. UN. Chapter Two of the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem.
  4. UN. CND resolution EC/CN.7/2020/L4/Rev. 1 Promoting awareness-raising, education and training as part of a comprehensive approach to ensuring access to and the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes and improving their rational use
  5. World Health Organization: Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care, 2018.
  6. World Health Assembly. Strengthening of PC as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course, Resolution 67/19. Geneva, 2014.
  7. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  8. World Health Assembly COVID-19 Response Resolution. Resolution 73/1. Geneva, 2020.

Project proposals may relate to:

Selected applicants will be provided US $3,000 stipend for the first year with another amount (not exceeding US $3,000) to be determined for the second year, for travel to a UN organization meeting as part of the IAHPC delegation, depending on pandemic-related travel restrictions. Selected leaders will be required to develop, implement, and report on project progress during the two-year term.

GLAD Program candidates must meet the following criteria:

Preference will be given to candidates whose institution is a current IAHPC member.

To receive additional information on the GLAD program, obtain the link to the GLAD program application and a listing of the required materials, please contact Genevieve Napier, IAHPC Programs Officer.

A PDF of the GLAD Program description is on the GLAD Program page.

4 Weeks of COVID-19 Webinars & Briefing Notes

Picking up where we left off in last month’s newsletter, the following is a summary of the most recent webinars — and links to their valuable, detailed briefing notes — produced by a unique collaboration during COVID-19 between the International Hospice and Palliative Care Association, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN), the Humanitarian Aid Situations and Emergencies network (PalCHASE), and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA).

Register here to receive notification of the last webinars in this series, which concludes in July.

How People with Pre-Existing Palliative Care Needs Are Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic (video: May 28 webinar)

Adults and children needing palliative care (PC), especially in lower- and middle-income countries, often face difficulties in accessing the required services. Their particular vulnerability during the pandemic is exacerbated by their inability to access all needed services, treatments, medications, and support for managing life-threatening illness and serious health-related suffering. Approximately 21 million children globally have PC needs. These patients are often invisible to mainstream society and are “left behind” by health care advocates and policy makers. Many patients fear that mainstream society sees their lives as not worth saving. One of the recommendations is to keep this patient group at the forefront of our minds, as they are hidden victims of this pandemic. Their health needs and symptoms remain throughout the pandemic, and indeed may well be exacerbated by it. Another recommendation is to ensure people with existing palliative care needs, and children in particular, are accompanied according to their wishes during necessary hospital visits and at the end of life.

Briefing notes:

Palliative Care in COVID-19 for Persons with Disabilities and in Humanitarian Crises (video: June 4 webinar)

Palliative care services in refugee camps and sites of humanitarian crises have not been made essential components of pandemic response planning, including for COVID-19. Access to infection control and isolation measures are exceptionally hard to achieve in overcrowded refugee camps or dense urban settings. Intensive care and ventilator support are rarely available in these contexts. Access to food, shelter, water, and sanitation are often prioritized alongside, and sometimes before, heath care interventions. Palliative care — which for patients with severe health-related suffering or who are dying may be the only realistic support option — can adapt naturally to such circumstances.

Briefing note:

Interprofessional Spiritual Care and Self Care (video: June 11 webinar)

Current health contexts are inundated with seriously ill COVID-19 patients who are suffering deeply — especially in the context of isolation from family members — and are in desperate need of spiritual care. Spiritual distress includes existential distress, struggles with uncertainty, despair, hopelessness, isolation, feelings of abandonment by God or others, grief, and the need for reconciliation. Appropriately trained clinicians can provide spiritual support to patients and families by taking a spiritual history, listening, practicing compassionate presence, praying, or sharing a sacred moment. Professionals are encouraged to provide spiritual care to patients and families, as well as to health care providers, via telehealth. It was recommended that they should help staff try to make sense of the suffering they are witnessing and support providers in the provision of spiritual care to patients, among other practical directives.

Briefing notes:

The Role of Telemedicine in Delivering Palliative Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic (video: June 18 webinar)

Telemedicine is defined as the use of telephone, computer software, and video-based services to facilitate patient-to-provider and provider-to-provider communication. Although palliative care has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce suffering and reduce costs to health care systems, it remains poorly developed in most LMICs with limited services accessible to only a small fraction of the people who need it. The risk of infection from COVID-19, with associated lockdowns, physical distancing requirements and limited availability of PPE have affected access to health care in general and further reduced access to palliative care. Telehealth may provide a solution to meeting the growing demands of palliative care services by connecting patients to providers and supporting collaborations between health providers across geographical regions with limited resources.

Briefing note:

Also of note: See this issue’s Media Watch, which focuses on telehealth, and reprints a table showing clinicians how to conduct video appointments with patients.

Learn more about the International Children’s Palliative Care Network and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance in the IAHPC Global Directory of Palliative Care Institutions.

New Definitions in Pallipedia

A few new terms have been added to IAHPC’s online palliative care dictionary, Pallipedia, which now has 1,716 definitions for 1,346 terms, and racked up 90,920 views in the first half of 2020.

Do you have any questions regarding Pallipedia, or suggestions for new terms or definitions?

Contact Roberto Wenk

What’s New in the Calendar

Pandemia: Efectos en los Sistemas de Salud. Oportunidades y retos para Cuidado Paliativo en el contexto actual y el futuro. Webinar. July 14, 2020.

The 4th European Congress on  Clinical Trials in Pain. November 16-17, 2020. Vienna.

Seminário Integrado: Cuidados Paliativos e Luto. Web streaming. July 6-8, 2020.

Latin America - Regional
Curso Avanzado de Medicina Paliativa: Dos días con Eduardo Bruera. Online course. July 17-18, 2020.

United Kingdom
St. Christopher's Hospice:

Updates in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Intensive Physician Board Review Course. Web streaming. September 8-10, 2020.

Find a workshop, seminar, congress, or conference to interest you in the IAHPC Calendar of Events, updated monthly, that lists activities of special interest to those who work in palliative care. Or submit an event for consideration; it’s free!

Do you have any questions regarding the IAHPC Calendar of Events?

Contact Ms. Julia Libreros

In Other News

The Pandemic’s Effect on the Clínica in Spain

A short report on the pandemic’s effect on palliative care in Spain, titled “Providing palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic: Experiences from Spain,” has been published by the World Health Organization’s regional office for Europe.

At just over two pages, the report describes the impact on the Clínica, a non-profit hospital with two venues that specialize in cancer care. Emergency legislation brought all private hospitals under government control on March 15, including the Clínica. As of March 20, the Clínica had seen more 1,550 people with COVID-19.

With a 50% reduction in inpatient visits for palliative care, the report relays evidence of suffering by some cancer patients who “did not receive adequate care,” while also recognizing the need of some COVID-19 patients for palliative care. “In many instances,” it states, “adapting the health care services delivery to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic weakened and overburdened the rest of the team still providing palliative care.”

Survey of Pediatric Clinicians

A team of pediatric researchers from four U.S. academic institutions are conducting an anonymous survey of pediatric care providers during COVID-19 in order to understand the changes to roles, responsibilities, and reflections of palliative care clinicians and teams, as well as define the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted end-of-life care and approaches to bereavement. The results will be submitted as an article for publication, and used for program development.

The researchers seek input from clinicians in the U.S. but also outside of the United States. There are 57 questions in the survey, which is estimated to take 15-20 minutes to complete. Anyone can quit the survey at any point; the answers they provide up until that point will, nonetheless, help inform the results. To take part in the survey, click here.

An E-book/Workbook for Grieving Children

Children Also Grieve is an e-book that also contains a workbook to help grieving children recognize, express, and work through their emotions and feelings. It was written by grief therapist, counselor and teacher Linda Goldman, who sees the pandemic and racial unrest as opportunities for children’s post-traumatic growth.

Goldman’s recent End-of-Life University podcast, Trauma, Grief and Resilience for Children in 2020 discusses the impact of current events as well as how children grieve, attributes of a resilient child, and resources.

Do You Have a Way with Words?

The Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network has announced an open call for poems “that embody themes of hope, mortality, resilience, and courage in the face of adversity” for an anthology — A Thousand Cranes — to “increase awareness of, and appreciation for, palliative care” in the region.

Select contributors will be invited to attend the organization’s 20201 conference in Kobe, Japan, where they will read their poems. The deadline is August 31, 2020. See here for details.

Photo Contest Related to COVID-19

The World Federation of Public Health Association is hosting a photo contest to capture pictures related to COVID-19 and the challenges of the pandemic in the different countries. The aim is to highlight the role of public health during the crisis and to facilitate appropriate communication and effective advocacy during and after the pandemic.

The deadline is July 31, 2020 to send [email protected] a photo that:

Photos will be projected during the 16th World Congress on Public Health 2020 and on WFPHA media and social media; the best three will win a prize. For more information, go here.

Each month, we publish items that may be of interest to our global readership. Submit your contribution.

Please also consider promoting your education and training events in the IAHPC Global Directory of Education in Palliative Care. It’s quick and easy — just submit your content online.

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