Claudia Gamondi, Palliative Care Physician, Palliative Care Department, Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland, Ticino, Switzerland, explains the background to two longer articles published in the March/April and May/June issues of the European Journal of Palliative Care.
Core competencies in palliative care education is the subject of a newly published EAPC white paper that brings together in a single document the many educational resources that have been developed across Europe. The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) has previously published a series of competency-based curriculum guidelines for palliative care professionals, for medicine, nursing and psychology and others are in preparation for social work. Guidelines are also available for chaplaincy/pastoral areas (though these were not produced by the EAPC). With so much valuable material around, the EAPC wanted to bring everything together in one place that would strengthen interdisciplinary thinking.
Widening the borders of palliative care education
The general question we posed was: ‘What competencies for clinical practice in palliative care are important for all practitioners, irrespective of their specific discipline?’
With this aim, we did an exhaustive review of the existing documents, derived from European and North American published literature, to identify differences and commonalities in the curricula. We submitted a draft document listing core competencies to a group of international experts, representing both clinical and academic fields of the different professions involved in palliative care. After review, the EAPC board of directors approved the final document.
Ten core competencies are described, ranging from responding to physical needs of the patients to care coordination across different settings of care. These competencies should be considered as a means to share a common language in education about palliative care in Europe. The first part of this white paper was published in the March/ April issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care, and now the second part of the document appears in the May/June issue.
We suggest that you read these papers as a benchmark to which we should all aspire during our professional career, not as a tool to judge capacities and performances of professionals. We hope that this white paper will be a useful tool for both educators and practitioners, and look forward to receiving comments and feedback from you after reading our paper.
I have very much enjoyed working on this project during my sabbatical at the International Observatory on End of Life Care and I have found very impressive the commitment demonstrated by the experts in reviewing the paper. I was amazed how, across the different cultures and different countries, the reviewers shared a common ground and philosophy in interpreting palliative care core constituents and agreed with the proposed competencies.
To find out more…
Two longer articles to which this post relates, ‘Core competencies in palliative care: an EAPC White Paper on palliative care education – part 1 and part 2’, by Claudia Gamondi, Philip Larkin and Sheila Payne, are published in the March/April and May/June 2013 issues of the European Journal of Palliative Care (vol. 20.2 and vol. 20.3) respectively. If you already have a web-based subscription to the EJPC you will be able to download this issue, plus all articles in the journal archive. You can also browse the archive and download articles by taking a 10-minute or 30-minute subscription.
EAPC members and registered users – you can download these articles free of charge on the EAPC website. (You may need to login or register first in the top, right-hand corner of the screen). EAPC members also receive discounted subscription rates to the EJPC – click here to subscribe online.