The course “Fundamentals of Palliative Care for Children” was held on December 13 and 14, 2019 at the Institute for Mother and Child “Dr.Vukan Cupic” in Belgrade, Serbia. Participants on the course were paediatricians, nurses and psychologists from all over Serbia working in the primary level of health care (Health Centres). The lecturers were prominent paediatricians from different fields (cardiologists, neonatologists, neurologists, nutritionists) and psychologists who work with children and young people with various diseases which fall within the categories of conditions requiring palliative care. The aim of the course was to sensitise medical staff to the needs of children and their families and to train them in providing basic palliative care when children from leading paediatric hospitals in the country return to their homes where it is expected that they will be provided with palliative care and psychosocial and spiritual care and support.
An agreement was signed in 2018 with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia regarding the project “Implementation of the National Palliative Care Programme for Serbia” over the next three years a national project team was formed comprising of 27 experts of various profiles (pediatricians, psychologists, social workers). Professor Vladislav Vukomanovic PhD, the Project Coordinator at the Institute for Mother and Child “Dr.Vukan Cupic”, says that the tasks of the project team for the Implementation of the National Palliative Care Programme in Serbia are:
1. Writing and publishing professional and methodological guidance for the implementation of the National Programme (expected to be published in early 2020), and
2. Writing special guidance for parents, children, and their family.
The first National Congress on Palliative Care for Children was held last year at the Institute for Mother and Child. There were over 300 participants from various paediatric institutions from all over Serbia (pediatricians, nurses, psychologists, social workers). The participants rated the Congress excellent, and the goal of the organisers of the Congress was to get more health professionals working with children acquainted with the basic philosophy and practice of palliative care for children. The intention and desire of the entire project team is to develop an awareness of helping severely ill children and their families in their living environments to cope with all stages of the disease flow and palliative care.