April 2024 Digest of News for Palliative Care Specialists

The Russian version of the Digest is available via the link

Telemedicine as a means of providing palliative care

Telemedicine (TM) is a topic of debate among both medical professionals and patients. However, the era of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of this method of communication in delivering medical care.

Palliative care faces accessibility challenges in many countries due to limitations in transportation infrastructure. In such cases, TM could be a solution.

A study conducted during the first and second waves of the pandemic focused on the experience of patients and their caregivers who used telemedicine consultations in oncology and palliative outpatient practices. The aim was to examine the effectiveness and implementation possibilities of this service, as well as to assess the availability of video consultations for patients with limited experience in information technology and access to technical resources.


Nursing education: what should be included in a palliative care course?

The successful integration of palliative care into the healthcare sphere begins with adequate preparation of nurses. However, a significant obstacle on this journey is the methods and extent of integrating a palliative care course into pre-licensure nursing education that require refinement.

Reforms in nursing education must be evidence-based. To achieve this, an international study was conducted to identify and assess the key competencies necessary for European nurses to deliver quality palliative care.

Researchers invited participants with diverse professional backgrounds, including general care nurses, nurse educators, as well as psychologists, spiritual counsellors, physicians, and social workers with experience in palliative care in Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Romania.

The findings of the study not only define 10 key competencies and their detailed contents but also focus the efforts of experts in shaping educational programs for nurses.


Correctional facilities and palliative care — how can specialists overcome the fundamental contradiction between two systems?

Rarely explored is the provision of end-of-life care to incarcerated individuals. Researchers invited healthcare professionals working in prisons in the state of Victoria, Australia, to study their experiences in providing palliative care to inmates.

As a result, a range of issues was identified: a profound philosophical contradiction between prison restrictions and the core principles of palliative care, nuances of patient confidentiality, and unique obstacles such as restrictions on effective pain management.

Moreover, many conditions within the correctional system posed serious moral and ethical dilemmas for the study participants. Healthcare workers were reluctant to let knowledge of a patient's crime or sentence length influence their professional intention to provide the best and fairest care to their patients.

The authors call for further exploration of this area of palliative care to ensure that incarcerated individuals receive dignified end-of-life care.


The role and position of volunteers in comprehensive palliative care: the Croatian experience

This article examines the evolution of volunteerism in the field of palliative care in Croatia, tracing its origins back to the 1990s. The research focuses on volunteers recruited by non-governmental non-profit organisations.

The European Association for Palliative Care has emphasised the importance of recognizing and promoting volunteer work, and the authors of the article discuss Croatia's involvement in developing and implementing the Charter of Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care.

Based on feedback from participants, seven key areas of volunteer activity have been identified, confirming the conclusion: volunteers fill the gap in the responsiveness of healthcare and social support systems to the needs of incurable patients. However, their role evolves as the official palliative care system develops and improves.


"Before I Die"

Impressive in its scope and simple in its concept, the global project "Before I Die" inspires by revealing how similar people from different countries and cultures truly are. We highly recommend exploring the Responses section to find support and comfort in selected answers from "Before I Die" walls around the world.