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'A very enriching experience'

Dr Piedade Amaro_420x420Dr Piedade Amaro, from Portugal, writes about her visit to the Cicely Saunders Institute: 

I recently visited the Cicely Saunders Institute (CSI), where I spent two weeks shadowing the Clinical Palliative Care Team (CPCT) at King´s College Hospital and two weeks with the Research Team. It was a lovely and very enriching experience. Both teams were very friendly and helpful, allowing me to achieve my goals regarding my visit. I experienced all aspects of multidisciplinary working within a CPCT in an acute context and profited from the invaluable scientific support of the Research Team.

The programme, which was prepared especially for me, empowered me to gain a better understanding of the huge importance of the BuildCARE project. This aims to create a ‘sea change’ in the way palliative and end-of-life care is regarded, implemented and prioritised internationally and, indeed, we know that palliative care makes a real difference in patients’ and families’ lives.

My programme included personal meetings about practical and theoretical aspects, so I learned about the rehabilitative palliative care paradigm shift and the dynamics of the Breathlessness Support Service. I also learned more about qualitative interviews, analysis and data management. The visit was invaluable in helping me to think about a research protocol concerning care co-ordination. I am hoping to replicate one of the studies completed by the department to help improve care for patients and their families back in my home country, with senior investigators, such as Dr Daveson and Dr Harding at the CSI.

I profited from the various and high-level scientific activities undertaken at the CSI, such as the seminars, and I had the opportunity to attend two courses related to end-of-life care, communication skills, psychological assessment and support. I am very grateful to both teams and I would like to give special thanks to Professor Irene Higginson, Director of the CSI and Professor of Palliative Care, Dr Barbara Daveson, Francesca Cooper and Steve Marshall.