October 2013 was marked by major progress in the development of paediatric palliative care in Portugal. The first post-graduate diploma in Paediatric Palliative Care was launched on October 25, at the Portuguese Catholic University, in Lisbon.
The course is coordinated by Prof Manuel Luís Capelas (president of the Portuguese Association of Palliative Care, RN, MSc, PhD), Prof Fernando Coelho Rosa (Professor of Pediatrics, MD, PhD) and Dr Ana Forjaz de Lacerda (pediatric oncologist, MD, MSc student Pall Care at King’s College London / Cicely Saunders Institute). Dr Lacerda is the coordinator of the Pediatric Group of the Portuguese Association of Palliative Care and the Committee of Continued and Palliative Care of the Portuguese Pediatric Society.
The course will have regular on-site sessions until May 2014, for a total duration of 124 hours. Students will receive classes on principles and philosophy of paediatric palliative care, research, ethics, communication, grief and bereavement, spirituality, family support, service development and organization and symptom control. Classes consist of formal lectures, practical sessions and group discussions.
For this first edition 18 students are enrolled, made up of 12 nurses, 3 doctors, 2 psychologists and 1 historian. It is hoped that yearly editions will follow, as the interest in developing paediatric palliative care services in Portugal grows.