Name of the activity: Palliative Care Workshop

Country/NMO: Romania (FASMR)

Program: Teaching Medical Skills

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Capacity Building

General description:

A physician should not only have good medical skills, but, above all, he should have good people skills, be kind, show empathy when needed and so on. Palliative care field requiers well prepared doctors into this area, who know how to easen the patients’ last moments, especially since the psychological wellbeing is important and triggers good effects on the body.
We based our activity on the outcomes that we already accomplished or we are looking forward to do so, as follows:
1. Most of the feedback forms completed by the students regarding the progress of the project were positive.
2. Most of the places of our conferences and sessions were filled by the participants.
3. During the “How to deliver bad news” workshop most of our volunteers showed interest in participating in an active way.
4. The students acquired the skills and knowledge necessary in order to provide good palliative care to a patient, and improve the quality of their lives. Their evaluation forms also showed high appreciation for the organized events.
5. More students are passionate about SCOME and involve in the committee’s projects.
6. The volunteers who participated at the project learned about symptoms’ management, like: pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, bedsores etc.
7. Spreading the project to other centers: One other Faculty of Medicine in Romania implemented the project in the 2017-2018 edition (Iași), so the project is currently being organized in 2 centers.

Focus area:

Doctor-Patient communication skills, Soft Skills for medical practitioners

Problem statement:

The students are not taught how to treat a patient when his illness can not be cured, and the treatment can no longer be curative. There is a lack of information about the palliative care in the current medical system, and not enough emphases is placed on improving the patient’s quality of life.
Delivering the bad news is also a psychological aspect that is very important to a future doctor, but the communication between the doctors and the patients is usually poor.
Most of the students at our University are not guided by our teachers about the way a future doctor should take care of the end-stage patients, and about the fact that the palliative care does not require only the management of pain and symptoms, but also has multiple aspects, such as: psychological, spiritual, social, physical (including physiotherapy), and emotional.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

The target group consists of approximately 30 students from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova who actively volunteer in the Craiova Medical Students’ Society (SSMC), and who applied for this project because they are willing to learn more about the palliative care, and they want to provide good healthcare to the patients.

The beneficiaries are the future patients who will receive a better quality of the medical care from the trained doctors, and also the volunteers, because they will improve their medical skills.

Objectives and indicators of success:

Specific objectives:
1. Improving the quality and the psychological dimension of the student, the future doctor;
2. Exposing the student to a real-life situation of the patients that require palliative care;
3. Confront the student with various cases and help him make the best decisions, as well as communicating them to the patient;
4. Exploring the cultural and spiritual dimensions of patients and the differences between them – their importance in practice and the treatment plan that will be followed in the future;
5. Discovering palliative care as a whole not only for treating a disease, but for the patient as well, along with the spiritual support, the psychological care, and the patient’s family and social environment.

Measurable: There will be 8 sessions, one session per week, from March to May. Indicators of success:
1. The number of students applying to participate to the
workshops/conferences.
2. The medical skills and knowledge acquired and students’ evaluation of the utility of the activities
3. The increasing number of SCOME volunteers in our students’ organization.

Achievable: The University is willing to provide us conference rooms and everything that we need in order to organize the sessions, from logistics to teachers and doctors who will hold the conferences.

Realistic: The palliative care workshops are meant to train the involved volunteers about everything that is related to palliative treatment, from definition to the awareness of maintaining the quality of a patient’s life until his last moments. Through this project, we want to improve the quality of the medical act in the future.

Time: The activities will take place during the second semester of the scholar year, starting in March, and continuing until May.

Methodology:

The palliative care workshops were designed and programmed as a module of 8 sessions with the following themes:
1. Oncological and Non-Oncological Palliative Care – “Introduction to Palliative Care”;
2. Symptoms management – “Decisions and attitudes”;
3. Effective communication – “How to deliver bad news”;
4. Psycho-emotional aspects in palliative care – “From body to soul”;
5. The spiritual dimension of palliative care and mourning – “Palliative care does not end when death occurs”;
6. Palliative Care – Geriatric vs. Pediatric – “Child-to-elderly Palliative”;
7. Palliative care centered on family and cultural issues – “Culture, zen and perspectives in palliative care”;
8. Ethics in palliative care – “Who, when and how do we diagnose for the first time?”
Each meeting aims to have as speakers, besides the oncologist, other specialists, in order to create the most complete picture of the topic debated during that week (e.g. Priest, psychologist, philosopher, pediatrician, etc.).
Depending on the availability and creativity of the speakers, each session is different, starting with later film debates, role-playing games, questionnaires for the patients, and analysis of the exposed situation.
The activities will take place during the second semester of the scholar year, starting in March, and continuing until May. There will be 8 sessions, one session per week. One session will take about 1 – 1:30 h.

Plans for evaluation:

All the participants had to fill a Google Form representing the Feedback towards the activities that took place during the project. In the feedback form they had to review the organization of the conferences, the logistics, freely express their thoughts about the activities, how useful was the received information, and if they considered it to be interesting.
Furthermore, we asked about the improvements we can make in order to evolve with our activities year by year.