The Dutch national information centre “Kennis centrum” on Children’s Palliative Care together with the Children’s Comfort Team of the Amalia Children’s Hospital Radboudumc in The Netherlands recently hosted a group of health care professionals from Ukraine. The Ukrainian delegation, consisting of three paediatricians and a nurse from the national children’s hospital ‘OHMATDIT’ in Kiev were accompanied by Alexander Wolf, Head of the board of the Ukrainian Association of Palliative and Hospice Care.
Palliative and hospice care in the Ukraine is very much in the early stages of development and at present there is no formal system or structure in place. Thanks to educational and advocacy efforts of non-governmental organizations and professionals over the past four years some in-patient and out-patient services have now started providing children’s palliative care.
Mobile multidisciplinary teams
In the main Ukrainian city of Kiev, as well as in a few other cities, mobile children’s pallaitive care (CPC) multidisciplinary teams have been developed. They are financed mostly by the local authorities in the framework of the health care programmes and provide first line clinical nursing and psychological care to families with a child facing a life-limiting disease. Volunteers from various local foundations have shown support for this movement and provide voluntary psychosocial support, help with fundraising, advocacy and education.
‘In positive shock’
The Radboudumc Amalia Children’s Hospital, one of the academic children’s hospitals in The Netherlands with a specialist “Children’s Comfort Team” warmly welcomed the Ukrainian delegation, with typical Dutch hospitality.*
The indispensable role and value of a special pain team and the positive results that the Children’s Comfort Team has already achieved in the project phase, such as the prevention of hospital admissions and earlier discharge from the hospital, were presented to the guests.
The paediatricians from Kiev were very interested in the work process of the Child Comfort Team. Some of the topics they were particularly interested in included how referrals were made, how the multidisciplinary consultations were arranged, how the child was transferred from hospital to home and what role the parents played? In all presentations it was emphasized how important it is to have a good multidisciplinary team and that being proactive in the care of the child and family is crucial. Prof. Dr. Kees Noordam gave the guests a guided tour of the children’s hospital.
The visitors were very impressed (or as was literally said: ‘in positive shock’) at the quality of care being provided by this team and how their care is organized and coordinated. After the tour there was an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge, experiences and ideas.
An inspiring visit
The visit to Nijmegen was very important for the healthcare professionals from the Ukraine. The Ukrainian Association of Palliative and Hospice Care is very active in promoting children’s palliative care within hospitals. At the moment there is a great need for knowledge about how child-palliative care programmes can best be arranged and structured. In that respect, the Radboudumc Child Comfort Team provided an excellent example and inspiration. The visit was also very useful in establishing closer cooperation between Ukraine and The Netherlands in order to further optimize and strengthen children’s-palliative care.
On 14 November 2018 the Dutch Information centre (Kennis centrum) will present the first online presentation via Skype to a group of nurses in the Ukraine from the National Medical Academy of post-graduate education on the multi-disciplinary team and the role of the nurse.
*Learn more on the developments in the framework of the Transit project (TRANS mural care and Interdisciplinary cooperation) with this link: https://www.radboudumc.nl/en/news/2017/transmural-care-to-improve-participation-in-sick-children
This report was provided by Alexander Wolf, Head of the Ukrainian Association of Palliative and Hospice Care and Maraliza de Haan, International Training Coordinator for Children’s Palliative Care, Kennis Centrum.