Appropriate and ongoing education and training of staff is an essential component in the provision of care for children requiring palliative care.
The IMPaCCT standards for paediatric pallaitive care in Europe (2007) recommend:
- All professionals and volunteers working in paediatric palliative care should receive comprehensive training and support
- Palliative care training must be a core part of the curriculum for all paediatric healthcare professionals, as well as related sub-specialties
- Each country should develop a national curriculum for all professionals working in paediatric palliative care.
- There must be designated centres of excellence that can provide formal teaching and postgraduate training in all aspects of paediatric palliative care.
There is currently a dearth of information regarding education programmes and courses for healthcare professionals working in paediatric palliative care in Europe. Paediatric palliative care as a speciality is at various stages of development throughout Europe and education programmes and courses in this small but highly specialised field of healthcare are also at different stages. Whilst courses are available in many European countries access to and content of these varies considerably.
This project aims to identify where courses and education programmes are being provided, whether national curricula exist and if so what are the core elements of these programmes that could be adopted by all providers of education. Centres of excellence, where they exist, will be identified, and course curricula scrutinised for core elements.
It has been suggested by a previous EAPC task force that in order to ensure that education programmes meet the needs of those participating, it is essential that the programmes are linked to the heatlhcare needs of the population and the structure of the healthcare system. This calls for those responsible for the development of the programme to have a sound understanding of:
- Paediatric palliative medicine and palliative care
- Principles of adult learning
- Organisational planning
- Partnership between place of care and place of training
- Awareness of the politics of healthcare delivery and
education at the local level (EAPC Task Force on Nurse Education, 2004)
These issues will also be considered by the Paediatric palliative care education task force.