New curriculum to increase number of skilled palliative care assistants in Bangladesh

Categories: Education.

Nowadays institution-based palliative care becomes very costly, meaning that home based palliative care is increasing feasible and cost-effective.

To provide an effective home care service there is much need for trained and skilled palliative care assistants (PCAs) by whom care would be provided.

A workshop to discuss a new standard curriculum for PCAs in Bangladesh was organised by CPC and supported by a project of Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBED) under the Ministry of Education on curriculum development for PCAs on 20 August 2016.

The workshop programme began at 9am with an inaugural speech by Prof. Dr Nezamuddin Ahmad, first Professor of Palliative Medicine in Bangladesh and department head of the Centre for Palliative Care, BSMMU.

In his brief speech he mentioned the main objectives of this workshop: to develop a standard home care service in Bangladesh and to create trained and skilled PCAs who would provide care directly to patients.

Home care provided by physicians and nurses for the huge number of palliative care patients is not always possible in a country like Bangladesh.

Hospice Bangladesh; SAJIDA Foundation; Sir William Beveridge Faoundation, Dhaka; and the Subarta Trust also participated in the workshop. 

Many of these organisations already provide home care service in Bangladesh, and the benefits of developing a suitable standard curriculum were recognised.

Some of the items on the agenda were:

  • development of a curriculum for PCAs
  • opinion sharing on the need for home care services in Bangladesh
  • training candidate selection criteria
  • detailed discussion on training syllabus and skills
  • overall course structure (assignments, examinations, clinical placement etc.)
  • discussion on teaching methods and materials; and
  • calendar and tentative plan for six-month and six-week courses.

Participants briefly discussed palliative care, home care, geriatric care, end of life care and respite care – all of which should be introduced as interrelated topics.

It was suggested that the learning style must incorporate presentations, group discussion, role play, videos – not only theoretical learning. Also that the curriculum should include discussion on the challenges faced by home care health workers, self care, motivation and scope for continuous professional learning.

It was decided that the current curriculum for palliative care assistants will be completed at the end of 2016. From 2017, the new training programme will begin.

Worldwide, the numbers of palliative care patients are increasing day by day. The demand for home-based palliative care is also increasing to bring palliative care to the person and their family at home.

This new curriculum will equip palliative care assistants with the skills to address this increasing need in Bangladesh.