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125 healthcare professionals and students participate in an international symposium on Cicely Saunders, pioneer of Palliative Care

The activity, in which speakers from Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Portugal took part, was organized by the San Juan de Dios Hospital of Pamplona, the ATLANTES Program of Institute for Culture and Society and the Navarre Society of Palliative Care.

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PHOTO: Manuel Castells
20/10/15 10:00 Isabel Solana

125 healthcare professionals and students of Medicine and Nursing participated on October 17 in an international symposium on the life, work and contribution to Palliative Care of Cicely Saunders, physician, nurse and social worker (1918-2005). The workshop was jointly organized by the research ATLANTES Program of the Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra, the Palliative Care Society of Navarra (PALIAN) and the Palliative Care Service of the Hospital San Juan de Dios of Pamplona.

position The opening lecture , entitled Making Sense of Cicely Saunders, was given by David Clark, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary programs of study of the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and Visiting Professor of the University of Navarra. Next, Martina Holder-Franz, from the University of Bern (Switzerland), spoke on The Meaning of Theology in the Life and Work of Cicely Saunders.

This was followed by roundtable 'The experience staff of translating Cicely Saunders in the book Watch Over Me. Inspiration for a life in Palliative Care'. Speakers included Enric Benito, from the Center coordinator of the Palliative Care Program of the Balearic Islands; Isabel Neto, from the Palliative Care Unit of the Da Luz Hospital (Lisbon); Marcos Lama, physician of the Palliative Care Service of the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pamplona; and Carlos Centeno, researcher main of the ATLANTES Program of the ICS and director of the Palliative Medicine Unit of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra.

Finally, attendees worked on texts and letters by Cicely Saunders in the two workshops of work programmed, 'Spiritual thought in Cicely Saunders and its influence on the current internship of Palliative Care' and 'Cicely Saunders and the sociological development of Palliative Care'. 

"Palliative care benefits everyone involved in the process."

At the symposium's framework , Carlos Centeno highlighted the contributions of Cicely Saunders' life and work: "She was a pioneer in understanding the idea that at the end of life it is essential to treat the person as a whole. She understood that when a person suffers, he or she suffers as a whole. That is why she coined the expression 'total pain.

For his part, Marcos Lama stressed that Cicely Saunders' vision of palliative care is still valid: "It is valuable both for the general population -since we all face the loss of loved ones- and for professionals, as we face the care of patients and the attention of their families. In this sense, he added that it can help to "make progress in this field, where we still have a long way to go".

Martina Holder-Franz also referred to Cicely Saunders' bequest worldwide. She recalled that before her death in 2005, around 600 care facilities in the UK alone had integrated her Palliative Care concept. He also emphasized that other pioneers of the new palliative care movement in Europe, the USA, India and Australia have also been inspired by her. Regarding the importance of theology in Saunders' life and work, topic from her lecture, she said that "for her God is compassionate and urges people to be in solidarity with those who suffer and with all of creation. She summed up her motivation: 'The Christian imperative is to care'".

On the other hand, Enric Benito emphasized that "recovering the sense of who we are, what we are doing here and the meaning of life can emerge from an intense human experience such as living the dying process with maturity". In his opinion, palliative care "in addition to providing humanized care that benefits all those involved in the process, is an opportunity to -through a transforming experience- awaken the spiritual dimension that shapes us as human beings".


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On October 17, the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pamplona hosted an international symposium on the life, work and work of...

Posted by ICS Unav on Monday, October 19, 2015