Avoid, ignore, manage? Dealing with conflict in hospice and palliative care

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Petra Roesler, Training Coordinator, Kardinal König Akademie, Vienna, Austria

Sixteen participants, trainer Ingrid Schneider and Chucky, the assistance dog

Sixteen participants from Eastern and Central Europe, trainer Ingrid Schneider and Chucky, the assistance dog

Conflict arises when people disagree over something perceived as important. When it comes to treating and helping people at the end of their lives, conflict is almost inevitable. From the patient to his/her family to nurses, doctors or a priest – everyone may have a very different idea of what is important, what has to be done and how. Add to that the organisational aspect of a hospice – leading teams of various professions, paid team members and volunteers – and the financing of the services provided by the state or private funding and you have plenty of sources for disagreement!

???????????????????????????????In October 2013, the Kardinal König Akademie in Vienna invited leaders from the field of hospice and palliative care in Eastern and Central Europe to its fifth two-day Transnational Leadership Academy. Ingrid Schneider, an experienced trainer, coach and supervisor, presented various models to identify, analyse and solve conflicts. The 16 participants from eight countries selected a conflict from their current professional life to work on during the training. They started out by analysing the ‘layers’ of the conflict from processes to roles, values or the inner self, then looked at expectations from the many stakeholders in the field and finally moved towards resolution. ‘Getting to Yes’, the famous negotiation model developed by R Fisher and W Ury, served as one way to balance interests and needs. However, it quickly turned out that some conflicts simply need to be endured and there is sometimes only a ‘least bad’ solution (especially where ethical conflicts are concerned). Or, as one participant put it:

This workshop was a true relief  for me, realising that not all conflicts can be resolved. We could see things from a different perspective. Exchanging experiences was truly a gift.”

Transnational pair work in analysing and resolving real-life conflicts

Transnational pair work in analysing and resolving real-life conflicts

The networking extended to pre-workshop sessions on clinical supervision and assessment tools. Hearing about the state of hospice care in other countries – or even other organisations in the same country – proved insightful and triggered new ideas and professional links resulting in an invitation to give a guest lecture at a university in the Czech Republic. Summing up her experiences, one participant said:

The knowledge I gained will be very useful in the development of a strategy for geriatric and palliative care in my country.” 

The training was funded by the Erste Foundation. Our next training course will be held on 10-11 November 2014 and will focus on the role of leaders in ‘handling’ grief and bereavement of patients, relatives and team members.

To find out more…
If you would like more information about our November workshop, please contact fppg@kardinal-koenig-haus.at

The website Actalliance offers general information and resources about conflict that can be adapted to context.

This entry was posted in EDUCATION & TRAINING, NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL REPORTS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Avoid, ignore, manage? Dealing with conflict in hospice and palliative care

  1. Pingback: Avoid, ignore, manage? Dealing with conflict in hospice and palliative care | EAPC Blog | All Things Palliative - Article Feed

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