Training for Caregivers in Palliative Care

Palliative care is an approach which improves the quality of patient’s life with a life-threatening illness and a life of their family. Palliative medicine began to develop in the second half of the 20th century with the advancement of medicine and the increasing number of survivors of oncological and other serious illnesses. It’s a priority to provide the patient WITH a relief from pain, but also to provide the family members with psychosocial help and to raise the quality of life in any way from the moment of diagnosis to the period of mourning after the death of the patient. In Croatia about 46,000 patients need palliative care. Most of these patients, as well as elsewhere in developed countries, are provided WITH most of primary palliative care level by doctors of family medicine, their associates, and the family members of the patient, especially when the care in advanced stage of illness is provided in the patient’s home. However, other institutions are needed in the provision of palliative care, particularly for the patients with very expressed symptoms and conditions that cannot be successfully addressed at the level of primary health care or for patients who live alone without any or sufficient social support. Unfortunately, teams and institutions for such care in the Republic of Croatia remain undeveloped.

Since in Croatia nurses are insufficiently trained in palliative care unlike many other countries around the world, this program aims to educate participants about the basics of palliative care. Since one of the basic features of palliative medicine is work in multidisciplinary team, training is based on multidisciplinary co-operation. According to the recommendations of the European Association for Palliative Care, all palliative care professionals must be familiar with its basic features. Therefore, the educational program provides the basis of palliative medicine, ways of increasing the quality of life and comfort of the patient, and ways of providing psychosocial assistance to users and palliative care providers.

While developing this program, the needs of the labor market have been identified. Accordingly, nurses and medical technicians as well as nursing graduates who receive palliative care certificate will contribute to their professional development and gain advantage in the labor market.

Training program consists of 180 hours and is carried out by combined multimedia and classroom teaching over period of 6 months.