Kent in Croatia: Sharing experiences in palliative care

Earlier this week, Renata Marđetko described how a change in the law is leading to real progress in Croatia and told us about recent education and training initiatives. Today, Professor David Oliver, an honorary professor at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, and Tricia Wilcocks, Head of Education and Research at ellenor hospice, Gravesend, Kent, UK, give their impressions on the events.

Left to right: Professor David Oliver, Professor Anica Jušić and Tricia Wilcocks.

The Tizard Centre, at the University of Kent, and ellenor hospice from Gravesend, Kent, in southern England have been involved in teaching palliative care in Croatia for several years. Palliative care has been slowly developing over the last 25 years but recently the government has introduced a law encouraging all areas to appoint palliative care co-ordinators and develop teams who can visit and support people at home.

In September 2018, I (David Oliver) visited Cakovec in the north of Croatia accompanied by Dawn Dark, a palliative care specialist nurse at ellenor hospice. We were there to attend a two-day seminar, organised by Renata Mardektko, the Palliative Care Co-ordinator for Medimurje county and a former Masters student at the University of Kent.  More than 130 people from all over Croatia took part in this interactive seminar.

Left to right: David Oliver, Renata Marđetko and Dawn Dark.

Representatives of the Health Ministry, local services and the County Prefect all attended. Dawn spoke of the day:

“This was a humbling experience to see so many people come to learn more about palliative care, some driving for over seven hours to attend! They really joined in with the discussion of the principles and difficulties of palliative care and we hope that this will be another stimulus in the development of services in Croatia.”

In October, I was joined by Tricia Wilcocks, Head of Education and Research at ellenor, to take part in the congress organised by the Medical Faculty, University of Zagreb, the Andrija Stampar Public Health School and the Croatian Medical Association. The congress marked two important events: 100th anniversary of the birth of Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of St Christopher’s Hospice and the modern hospice movement, and the 2018 World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. I spoke of the care of people with neurological disease at home, and Tricia spoke of the importance of sharing care, working for a compassionate outcome. Dr Christine Drummond, from Adelaide, Australia, also spoke on community palliative care, presenting a stimulating case review demonstrating some of the principles of care at home.

Professor Anica Jušić, organiser of the congress, and winner of the WHPCA inaugural Older People’s Champion Award

We were delighted to be able to talk about the care of people at home. We could all share our experiences and help the participants to look at how home care might be developed throughout Croatia. We were also honoured to celebrate the World Hospice Palliative Care Alliance’s (WHPCA) inaugural Older People’s Champion Award, which was presented to Professor Anica Jušić, who had organised the congress.

Links and resources

Read more posts about Eastern and Central Europe on the EAPC blog.

COMING UP ON THE EAPC BLOG – On Monday, the spotlight’s on north eastern Europe when Marius Čiurlionisi, Head of Nursing, Palliative Medicine and Social Care Clinic, VšĮ Centro Poliklinika, Vilnius, Lithuania, introduces the Baltic Palliative Care Association.

This entry was posted in East & Central Europe, NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL REPORTS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Kent in Croatia: Sharing experiences in palliative care

  1. DEBBIE HOFFMann says:

    I work in pallative health are in Cape town.i am a registered nurse and would like to work in your community in Croatia or on one of the islands

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