Research for all Palliative Care Clinicians (RESPACC): A new Erasmus+ project

HOSPICE Casa Sperantei is a partner and coordinator of RESPACC – ‘Research for Palliative Care Clinicians’ – a new Erasmus + project (no. 2020-1-RO01-KA202-080128), that aims to introduce basic research competences to the day-to-day practice of palliative care clinicians. Liliana Stănciulescu, Physician, Laura Iosub, PR Coordinator for Education and National Development, and Oana Predoiu, Project Manager, HOSPICE Casa Speranței, Brasov, Romania, and members of the project, explain more.    

Left to right: Laura Iosub, Liliana Stănciulescu and Oana Predoiu.

What is the minimum skill a palliative care professional needs to be able to find relevant articles and be able to discern what is really appropriate to apply in practice?

How to understand the results of statistical tests and key principles in a scientific paper? How to do a study? How to design a study protocol? How to approach ethical issues? How to collect the right data? What kind of data?

The project RESPACC tries to answer all these questions.

Medical research has made a fundamental contribution to health and wellbeing over the past 50 years. Well-directed, high-quality research can answer important questions and provide evidence to inform decisions in clinical practice and policy development.

Research as one of the core competences in palliative care is important. Thus, a better understanding of research from professionals will contribute to reducing the gap between researchers and palliative care professionals, with opportunity to replicate for other clinical specialties.

The project RESPACC aims to include basic research competences as part of the clinical practice of palliative care professionals addressed, with the following objectives:

  • Design effective education strategies for enhancing basic research competences across members of multidisciplinary teams in palliative care.
  • Stimulate the development and use of innovative approaches to increase the effective uptake evidence-based research in palliative care.
  • Increase the research capacity for practitioners in palliative care.
  • Raise awareness among palliative care clinicians regarding the importance of research integration in clinical practice.

Complex activities are included in the project, such as: developing core research competences framework, a guideline related to critical reading and academic writing associated with four webinars on specific topics, a flow diagram for a research proposal with videos on specific topics, and guidance material about methodology, design, data collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative research. All materials will be available in English, Romanian, Greek and Spanish.

RESPAAC’s partners in the project are the European Association for Palliative Care, Galilee Palliative Care Unit (Greece), Universidad de Navarra (Spain), Universitates Transilvania din Brasov Facultatea de Medicină (Romania) and HOSPICE Casa Sperantei (Romania), the applicant organisation.  We are confident that the mixed cultural and innovative approaches of our partners will increase the evidence-based research in palliative care.


EXPLORE NEW DIMENSIONS at #EAPC2021. The 17th EAPC World Congress Online offers interactive online sessions from 6 to 8 October 2021, including an entire day dedicated to Paediatric Palliative Care. And you will be able to enjoy lots of on-demand content before and after the congress dates. Get some sneak peeks of congress events on the EAPC blog.

  • Register for the congress here. (Up to 25% discount for EAPC members)
  • Enter the International Photo Competition here.  
  • Enter the Science Slam here.
Posted in EDUCATION & TRAINING, RESEARCH | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Passion and commitment to palliative care: Top Twenty most-viewed posts in 2020 on the EAPC blog

Avril Jackson, on behalf of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) social media team, introduces the most-viewed posts on our blog in 2020. 

Avril Jackson.

In the past nine years that I’ve been managing the EAPC blog, I’ve come to truly appreciate the work that goes into it: the passion and commitment to palliative and end-of life care of both our contributors and the wonderful team that I work with. (You can read more about our multinational, multi-professional social media team here – they are the best!). In this post, I want to celebrate some of that passion and commitment and give a big shout out to all those hardworking clinicians, practitioners, researchers and others who contribute to our blog, and especially the authors of our Top Twenty most-viewed posts published in 2020.

It’s the efforts of you all that enabled us to reach people in 191 countries (including overseas protectorates/territories) from six continents who viewed the blog last year. In a year where many people might have declined the invitation to write a blog post on top of a gruelling day, you never let us down and I thank you all.

Authors whose posts were among the most-viewed in the first half of 2020. Top row, left to right: Mai-Britt Guldin, Christoph Ostgathe, Jeroen Hasselaar on behalf of Palliative Sedation, and Danila Valenti. Middle row: Julia Fee Voon, Frank Brennan, Rachel Cripps and co-authors from Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London. Bottom row: Lukas Radbruch and Claudia Bausewein, Nathan Cherny, Anna KL Reyners and Elisabeth DeVries; Scott Murray, Sébastien Moine and co-authors from the EAPC Primary Care Reference Group. 

So, who are these passionate and committed contributors?

Well, you can spot them in the pictures and read the full list of winning contributions below. It’s an impressive list representing 19 countries across five continents: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America – proof that the EAPC really does cross borders.

Their backgrounds include academic research, anthropology, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, public health and spiritual care, alongside hospice CEOs, a communications/education specialist and a published poet/physician. Many are recognised globally for their expertise and experience in palliative and end-of-life care while others, perhaps less well known at this moment, are already making a big impact in the field.

Top-scoring contributors from the second half of 2020: Clockwise from top: Johan Haumann, Rose Kiwanaku, Barry R Ashpole, Nicoleta Mitrea, Daniela Mosoiu, Marc Haufe, Claude Chidiac and Naosuke Yokomichi.

And what did they write about?

The link with our official journals, Palliative Medicine and Journal of Palliative Medicine, ensures that content on the blog reflects some of the latest international research. True to form, three of our most-viewed posts in 2020 relate to longer articles published in these journals. What’s more, EAPC members can download a free PDF of the longer article selected as Editor’s Choice from Palliative Medicine and members are also eligible for a special discount on personal subscriptions to both journals. (Read more about our official  journals here: Palliative Medicine; Journal of Palliative Medicine).

Several posts relate to the series on COVID-19 and the Palliative Care Response – our special thanks to EAPC President, Prof Dr Christoph Ostgathe and board member, Dr Danila Valenti, for kick-starting that series within days of the World Health Oganization declaring the global pandemic. As I was in Cuba at that time (where internet connection is often unpredictable and limited to ‘hotspots’ or the local Salsa bar!), publishing those posts was a bit touch and go at times. But we managed, and Danila’s remains one of the most-viewed posts of all time. Another successful series marked the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020  with nursing colleagues featuring prominently in the series and three posts being among the most viewed of the year. Spirituality and Palliative Care was the theme of another series published in 2020, with two posts among the Top Twenty.

More authors whose posts were among the most viewed in the second half of 2020: L to r: Pablo Hernández-Marrero, Sandra Martins Pereira and Minna Hökkä; Shaun O’Leary and Heather Richardson.

Congratulations to the contributors of the twenty most-viewed posts in 2020

The suspense is over… If you still haven’t matched the authors to their blog posts, here’s a list of our Top Twenty most-viewed posts. Please spend a few minutes to click on the links and dive into their posts – you won’t be disappointed. We’re very proud that three of the winners are from our own EAPC social media team – but I’ll be very discreet and leave you to find them!

Meanwhile, our huge thanks to everyone who helps to make our blog a better place…


Danila Valenti, Italy: From the front line: Palliative care in Bologna during the COVID-19 crisis

Christoph Ostgathe, Germany: Start thinking about palliative care in times of a pandemic: The case of corona …

Jeroen Hasselaar, K Vissers (Netherlands), S Mercadante (Italy), C Centeno (Spain), S Payne, N Preston (UK), L Radbruch (Germany), M van der Lee (Netherlands), A Csikós, (Hungary) and J Menten (Belgium): Palliative sedation in the context of COVID-19: Expert opinions from the Palliative Sedation project

Mai-Britt Guldin, Denmark: Managing bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rachel Cripps, Simon Etkind, Anna Bone, Adejoke Oluyase, Mevhibe Hocaoglu, Katherine Sleeman and Irene Higginson, UK: What’s the role of palliative care and hospices in the COVID-19 pandemic? Evidence from a systematic review.

Scott Murray (Scotland, UK), Sébastien Moine (France), Yvonne Engels (the Netherlands), Deirdre Shanagher (Ireland) and Maurizio Cancian (Italy):  COVID-19 and palliative care: Scale up provision in every country – especially in primary care

Julia Fee Voon Ho, Malaysia: Morphine use for cancer pain: A strong analgesic used only at the end-of-life? A qualitative study on attitudes and perceptions of morphine in patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers.

Dr Frank Brennan, Australia: Spirituality, poetry and palliative care

Nathan I Cherny, (Israel), Anna KL Reyners and Elisabeth DeVries (The Netherlands): New ESMO recommendations for palliative and supportive care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lukas Radbruch and Claudia Bausewein, Germany: The calm before the storm – Germany prepares for the corona deluge.

Marc Haufe, The Netherlands: Five spiritual strengths your patients might be pursuing

Barry R Ashpole, Canada: Abstract Watch: Palliative and end-of-life care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Heather Richardson and Shaun O’Leary, UK: Remembering Mary, pioneer of hospice care (a tribute to Dr Mary Baines OBE).

Dr Naosuke Yokomichi, Japan: Palliative sedation does not shorten survival in the last days of life in patients with advanced cancer: A propensity score-weighted analysis of a prospective cohort study

Daniela Mosoiu, Romania: Free Online Undergraduate Medical Education in Palliative Care – the EDUPALL Experience

Minna Hökkä (Finland), Sandra Martins Pereira and Pablo Hernández-Marrero (Portugal): Nursing competencies across different levels of palliative care provision: Highlighting the need for further research and international collaboration

Nicoleta Mitrea, Romania: Are nurses becoming more influential in palliative care? A personal perspective from Romania

Claude Chidiac, UK: The need for early referral to palliative care especially for Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in a COVID-19 pandemic

Johan Haumann, The Netherlands: Dutch pain management team awarded Best European Paper of 2019 at EAPC World Research Congress Online

Rose Kiwanaku, Uganda: Becoming the first palliative care nurse in Uganda  


  • Email an outline of what you’d like to write about here or check the Contributors’ Guidelines here.
  • Sign up to the EAPC blog here to receive an email each time we publish.
  • View annual reports for the EAPC blog and social media activities here.




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Joan Hunt OBE Obituary: Pioneer of palliative care in Spain and founder of Cudeca, the country’s first hospice

Marisa Martín Roselló, CEO and Medical Director, Cudeca, pays tribute to Joan Hunt OBE, a British woman whose compassion and determination inspired the local community in her ‘adopted’ country to establish Spain’s first hospice. Joan Hunt died at the age of 92 on 24 June 2021 in the hospice she founded.

The founder of Cudeca, Mrs Joan Hunt OBE (right), with Dr Marisa Martín Roselló, CEO and Medical Director.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but in one way Joan Hunt made things easier for us through the legacy she left us: Cudeca, Spain’s only hospice to date, which currently cares for 1,500 people every year, offering patients and their families what Joan always called “A special kind of caring”.

Joan was a visionary. She had retired with her husband to the Costa del Sol in southern Spain and a few years later, in 1991, Fred died of cancer in Malaga. He was admitted towards the end of his life to a newly created palliative care ward in the Red Cross hospital, but Joan saw that the end-of-life care facilities in general were far from ideal. Instead of sinking into a quiet widowhood, she determined to build a hospice. Against all the odds, with only a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish and few contacts to call on, she started fundraising and building up a team of professionals to visit cancer patients in their homes. In 2003, the day care centre at the beautiful hospice in Benalmádena, opened just as she had envisioned it, with an in-patient unit following in 2005, and to date there are seven Cudeca home care teams.

Her previous experience was undoubtedly an asset. From an underprivileged childhood including long periods in hospital, she had gone to work as an office tea-maker, rising to become Personnel Manager in a multinational company with thousands of workers at a time when few British women held executive positions. Intelligent, hard-working and compassionate, she knew the importance of surrounding herself with others who shared her high values and standards.

In the beautiful grounds of the hospice: Joan is pictured with Susan Hannam, Vice-President of Cudeca, (right) and Marisa Martín Roselló.

Joan exemplified the power of will, setting a constant example of social, ethical and intellectual commitment. She believed absolutely in the power of the collective, of the community.  Through her warm personality and her own strength of conviction she inspired hundreds of volunteers. She built bridges throughout society: to ordinary citizens, to public and private institutions. She demonstrated with deeds what it means to trust others, to believe in people and to make them responsible for the care of their most fragile members. All this in order to achieve a fairer society committed to end-of-life care.

She was not satisfied to bring the vision only to her part of southern Spain: she lived to see Malaga University offer courses in palliative care under the auspices of Cudeca, and the first stone laid in the hospice’s grounds for what will soon open as the ‘Yusuf Hamied Training and Research Centre in Palliative Care’.

Joan was selfless, and only ever wanted to be in the limelight if it would help her project. At the end of her life, it was typical of her that she left notes for those closest to her asking that rather than flowers mourners should send donations to Cudeca “to provide care, support and company for those who need us most”. She also wrote:

“Take care of Cudeca. I have faith in you: ensure that my legacy goes on giving life to the days of patients and their families.”

Only those who feel the value of life are capable of dedicating it to caring for the lives of others. And Joan’s vision come to reality is itself a beautiful tribute to life. Cudeca today is bereft, but there is no doubt: Joan Hunt’s legacy will live on.

Links and further reading

EXPLORE NEW DIMENSIONS at #EAPC2021. The 17th EAPC World Congress Online offers interactive online sessions from 6 to 8 October 2021, including an entire day dedicated to Paediatric Palliative Care. And you will be able to enjoy lots of on-demand content before and after the congress dates. Get some sneak peeks of congress events on the EAPC blog.

  • Register for the congress here. (Up to 25% discount for EAPC members)
  • Enter the International Photo Competition here.
  • Enter the Science Slam here.
Posted in INTERVIEWS & TRIBUTES | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Early, integrated palliative rehabilitation improves quality of life of patients with newly diagnosed advanced cancer


Each month, Professor Catherine Walshe, Editor-in-Chief of ‘Palliative Medicine’, chooses an article that readers may find particularly interesting or useful and invites the authors to draw out the key points on the EAPC blog. Focusing on research that is novel, a robust review, from a specific country or just slightly left of field, the ‘Editor’s Choice’ post aims to share experience and stimulate ideas. We hope you’ll read the longer article in ‘Palliative Medicine’, or EAPC members can download a FREE copy of the article…

Lise Nottelmann, MD PhD, Denmark, explains the background to the longer article, of which she is first author, selected as ‘Editor’s Choice’ in the July 2021 issue of ‘Palliative Medicine’.

Lise Nottelmann.

“You gave me my life back!” The words came out of his mouth, and he seemed a bit startled as if he had only just realised this and verbalised it for the first time. His wife nodded slowly and grabbed his hand.

We, a palliative care physician and a nurse, sat across from the couple as they evaluated the last 12 weeks of participating in a palliative rehabilitation programme while the husband was receiving treatment for advanced colon cancer. His goal on entering the programme was to be able to take the dog for a walk around the local lake. He had just told us how he could now easily make the trip twice a day and still find the energy to meet up with his friends at the pub at least once a week.

Four years earlier, we had laid the foundation stones of a new palliative rehabilitation outpatient clinic at our cancer centre at Vejle University Hospital, Denmark. As palliative care professionals, we were inspired by the growing body of work about early integration of palliative care into the oncology treatment of patients with advanced cancer. (1) At the same time, we saw how feelings of loss of control sometimes sent patients and families into the arms of somebody or something that ultimately led to harm or hopelessness. We asked ourselves how we might offer earlier symptom control, while providing our patients with suggestions for evidence-based interventions they could follow themselves that might improve their quality of life.

These thoughts led to the founding of a palliative rehabilitation outpatient clinic offering individual consultations, as well as a 12-week interdisciplinary group programme combining a weekly patient/caregiver training session with individually tailored physical exercise in groups. The usual members of our team comprising physicians, nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists were supplemented by an occupational therapist, a dietician, a social worker and a chaplain to form the palliative rehabilitation team. We decided to test this new initiative in a randomised, parallel-group controlled trial and we are delighted to present the results of the study in our longer article published in Palliative Medicine, and to give a preview here to readers of the EAPC blog.

We found that the quality of life of the patients in the group that received palliative rehabilitation integrated in the cancer care was significantly improved, as opposed to the group receiving standard oncology care alone. In a previous publication, we described the development of the palliative rehabilitation offer, and how it was utilised and evaluated by the patients during the study.(2)

We believe the study adds to the evidence on the effect of early, integrated palliative care and offers additional and new knowledge of a highly flexible and interdisciplinary model of delivery incorporating elements of rehabilitation.


1.    American Society of Clinical Oncology Provisional Clinical Opinion: The Integration of Palliative Care into Standard Oncology Care. Journal of Clinical Oncology 30, no. 8 (March 10, 2012) 880-887. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2011.38.5161

2.    Nottelmann, L., Jensen, L.H., Vejlgaard, T.B. et al. A new model of early, integrated palliative care: palliative rehabilitation for newly diagnosed patients with non-resectable cancer. Support Care Cancer 27, 3291–3300 (2019).

This post relates to the longer article, ‘Early, integrated palliative rehabilitation improves quality of life of patients with newly diagnosed advanced cancer: the Pall-Rehab randomized controlled trial’, by Lise Nottelmann, Mogens Groenvold, Tove Bahn Vejlgaard, Morten Aagaard Petersen, Lars Henrik Jensen, published in Palliative Medicine Volume 35 issue: 7, page(s): 1344-1355. Article first published online on 17 May 2021. Issue published 1 July 2021.


If you are currently an Individual or Associate EAPC Member you have full access to the Members Area of the EAPC website, and the chance to download a free PDF of all ‘Editor’s choice’ articles, as well as many other membership benefits. Just click here, enter your email address and membership password and choose from the list of journal articles.

How to join as an Individual/Associate Member, or to renew your membership

  • Individual members are invited to join the EAPC or renew their membership here.
  • Associate Members – all current members of our National Associations are invited to join the EAPC or renew their membership for FREE. Click here.

EXPLORE NEW DIMENSIONS at #EAPC2021. The 17th EAPC World Congress Online offers interactive online sessions from 6 to 8 October 2021, including an entire day dedicated to Paediatric Palliative Care. And you will be able to enjoy lots of on-demand content before and after the congress dates. Get some sneak peeks of congress events on the EAPC blog.

  • Register for the congress here. (Up to 25% discount for EAPC members)
  • Enter the International Photo Competition here.  
  • Enter the Science Slam here.

Posted in Palliative Medicine: Editor's Choice | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Rewarding times – Opportunities to be involved and chances to win at EAPC World Congress Online 2021



Julie Ling, Avril Jackson and Claudia Sütfeld, from the EAPC head office team, introduce some of the ‘rewarding content’ you can expect at the congress…

Left to right: Julie Ling, Avril Jackson and Claudia Sütfeld.

In life it is great to be rewarded for exceptional work or achievements, the 17th World Congress Online of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) provides one of those opportunities. We are very proud to host and present an array of awards during our congress. Reflecting the diversity of palliative care, there are a range of awards presentations scheduled to take place during the congress from 6 to 8 October 2021.

The EAPC Award  

Professor Irene J Higginson OBE.

Created in 2001, The EAPC Award recognises an outstanding contribution to palliative care and in particular to the European Association for Palliative Care. The EAPC Board of Directors decides on the recipient of this prestigious award who, this year, is Professor Irene J Higginson, OBE, Founding Professor of  the Cicely Saunders Institute and currently an Executive Dean at King’s College London. Irene has a world-leading reputation in the field of palliative care, applied health care and outcomes research and we are delighted to have collaborated with her team as a principal disseminator on several projects. Prof Irene Higginson will present – ‘Inequalities and Injustice in Palliative Care’ in the opening session on Wednesday 6 October.

Floriani Lecture 

We are grateful to the Fondazione Floriani for their ongoing support.  For the past 15 years they have supported The Floriani Lecture at our biennial EAPC World Congress. The speaker is selected and agreed by the scientific committee for the congress. This decision is discussed with the Fondazione Floriani and, with their agreement and support, the speaker is invited to attend the congress and present the Floriani Lecture.

Professor Jim Cleary.

This year, the lecture will be given by Professor Jim Cleary, Director of the Walther Supportive Oncology Program at Indiana University School of Medicine and IU Simon Cancer Center, USA. Jim is recognised globally for his expertise in palliative care medicine and cancer pain. Prof Jim Cleary will present: ‘How can palliative care navigate the opioid crisis?’ on Friday, 8 October during the closing session.


Awards from EAPC official journals

We’re proud to partner with two of the most eminent journals in the field: Palliative Medicine and Journal of Palliative Medicine. Both journals will be presenting their annual awards for outstanding papers published in the preceding year. The editor-in-chief of each journal will present their respective awards: Professor Catherine Walshe will present the Palliative Medicine Paper of the Year Award and Dr Charles von Gunten, the Journal of Palliative Medicine European Paper of the Year Award. 

EAPC/EUPCA Leadership Education in Palliative Care Award 2021

This award acknowledges programmes where leadership is developed, recognises excellence, and promotes leadership as an integral and important part of palliative care. This year, the award attracted many applications from nine countries, including three from outside Europe. The award will be presented at the congress by Professor Raymond Voltz on behalf of the European Palliative Care Academy (EUPCA) and the EAPC Leadership Task Force.

EAPC Researcher Awards 

The Researcher Awards were created as an annual award by the EAPC in 2009. The awards are designed to recognise the work of scientists and clinicians in the field of palliative care who have recently made, or are currently making, an outstanding contribution to research and clinical practice. You will have the chance to meet the winners of each of the award categories (Early Research Award, Post-Doctoral Award and Clinical Impact Award) when they deliver their plenary lectures during the congress, and through their contributions to the blog.

For the first time, the EAPC World Congress will host the prestigious Palliative Care Nurse of the Year Award 2021 offered by the International Journal of Palliative Nursing. The award recognises a nurse who has made a substantial difference to the experience of individuals in palliative and end-of-life care and will be presented by Dr Brian Nyatanga, consultant editor of the journal. (The closing date for submissions is 31 July so why not nominate a nursing colleague now – read more here).

Poster Awards and Best Abstracts

Unless you’ve submitted an abstract yourself or, like Julie, you are one of our abstract reviewers, it can be hard to imagine the immense work and effort that lie behind submitted abstracts. Clearly, not everyone can be a winner, but we do thank every single person who submitted an abstract – your contribution is valued and appreciated. The authors of the five best overall abstracts will be invited to present during plenary sessions two to six on 6 to 8 October.

Poster presentations are a cornerstone of every EAPC Congress and judging by the high-quality of this year’s abstracts we’re in for some exciting and stimulating content. As always, rosettes will be awarded to posters with the top-scoring abstracts in each category and a certificate will be sent to the submitting author after the congress.

Win some great prizes for having fun…

Thanks to our generous sponsors, as always there will be opportunities for delegates to win prizes such as books, journal subscriptions, and much more. All you have to do is register for the congress and keep an eye on the congress website, the blog and social media. This is where we shall soon be sharing all of the latest news about upcoming opportunities to socialise and network.

In keeping with this year’s theme, ‘Exploring New Dimensions’, we’re confident that our International Photography Competition and Science Slam will bring many opportunities to re-energise and innovate. Our community thrives on creativity and diversity, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of these two exciting competitions.

Please join us at the EAPC 17th World Congress Online. Help us to celebrate the exceptional work and achievement of colleagues within our palliative care community and the communities with whom we work. And if you’re curious to know more, please follow the special series on our blog dedicated to the congress and enjoy some sneak peeks of #EAPC2021.



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