In October 2021, the European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA) and the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) held their second Leadership Day as part of the 17th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC). Chaired by Professor Frank Ferris (LDI) and Dr Gerrit Frerich (EUPCA), the session explored the importance of trust in times of uncertainty. Gerrit Frerich explains.
The Corona pandemic has challenged healthcare providers all over the world and still does. But following Winston Churchill’s advice, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” eight alumni of the EUPCA and LDI courses met for an experiential exchange on ‘Sustaining Palliative Care Services in the Covid-19 Pandemic’.
Keynote speaker Professor Charles F von Gunten set the tone with ‘Leadership for Sustainability’ by stressing the need for leaders to put themselves in the patient’s situation and to connect with them by showing genuine interest.
Regional and international cooperation
Dr Ladislav Kabelka from the Czech Republic discussed the regional leadership challenge to sustain early integration of palliative care. Preparation is the key; in crisis, you definitely benefit from well-developed systems and established collaborations.
Professor Mark Boughey from Australia pointed out the benefits of improved relationships between organisations, and how leaders can drive forward their work and their team through networking. Because of social distancing rules, Dr Georg Bollig from Denmark shared how he mastered the transition of his ‘Last Aid’ courses to an online format. The new format was highly successful, attracting more young participants than ever before!
Advocacy and pushing forward despite limitations
Rumana Dowla from Bangladesh focused on advocacy skills. Building relationships with stakeholders and educating policymakers and the public were essential. Being the voice for the voiceless, the purpose of advocacy is to ensure that no one is left behind.
Dr Farzana Khan from Bangladesh leads a palliative care project for refugees in humanitarian camps. In these camps, 73 per cent of people with chronic diseases do not receive treatment, and more than 90 per cent of caregivers do not have any formal training. Through tireless advocacy, she engaged stakeholders and recruited volunteer trainers to improve the situation massively.
Teamwork, trust and communication
Dr Zuzana Křemenová from the Czech Republic described hardships during the early stages of the pandemic when the team was not yet well-attuned and faced communication problems. Through building trust, they ultimately managed the high workload and learned to practise self-care and support each other.
Professor Shoba Nair from India shared her experience with their leadership initiative to sustain clinical care. In particular, leadership skills such as collective decision-making and conflict resolution, and also networking and celebrating success, came into play.
Marius Čiurlionis from Lithuania focused on information dissemination. Thanks to regional cooperation and efficiently transferring patients the overburdening of hospitals was avoided. Building trust and sending the right message was essential, he concluded.
View the presentations on the webpage of the EAPC Task Force on Leadership in Palliative Care
These outstanding stories captured the imagination of 60 participants from across the world. You can now view the video presentations on the webpage of the EAPC Task Force on Leadership in Palliative Care.
We thank all the speakers and participants and look forward to the next Leadership Day! Keep tuned via our website (www.eupca.eu) and follow @EAPCvzw.
Links and resources
- European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA)
- EAPC Task Force on Leadership in Palliative Care
- Registered delegates of the 17th EAPC World Congress can view the congress presentations until 31 January 2022. Access the platform here and log in with the password you used during congress registration.
- EAPC members can view all congress plenary presentations here. (Login with your EAPC password).
- Read more posts from EUPCA and Coronavirus and the Palliative Care Response on the EAPC blog.
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