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"The training in palliative care can bring valuable skills to all professionals in the healthcare system."

The director of the Palliative Care program of the University of Ottawa offered a lecture organized by the ICS.

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José Pereira. PHOTO: Manuel Castells
21/02/14 12:32 Isabel Solana

"The training in palliative care can provide valuable competencies to all professionals in the healthcare system". This was the opinion of José Pereira, director of the Division of Palliative Care at the University of Ottawa and head of the Palliative Care program at the Ottawa Hospital (Canada). The expert gave a lecture at lecture at the University of Navarra organized by the ATLANTES program of Institute for Culture and Society.

According to Dr. Pereira, palliative care educational programs are very enriching, since they "address everything from symptomatology to communication, including psychological and spiritual care". In this regard, he emphasized that they are not only focused on "a diagnosis or end-of-life care: they constitute a vehicle for treating the person in a comprehensive manner, taking into account his or her wishes, fears, values, loved ones...".

From agreement with this perspective, he insisted on the importance of starting palliative care treatment at an early stage of the disease, something that is currently not widespread. "Lack of information is a big barrier. Some physicians do not put them on internship because of the psychological effect it may have on the patient, since this discipline is associated with the end of life," he explained. He also added that another problem "is the mistaken belief that when this treatment is started, the rest must stop. This is not true: they can be coordinated".

Palliative care: quality of life and happiness

"In the face of these ideas, we must make healthcare professionals and patients understand the quality of life and the joy that palliative care can bring," he stressed.

José Pereira started the Canadian Pallium Project in 2001, an initiative that provides Education specialized palliative care across all regions of Canada and has been growing in importance in the country. This program has recently received three million dollars from Health Canada due to its success and effectiveness.

Regarding the status of this discipline in his country, the Ottawa Hospital expert pointed out that the province of Alberta (Canada) is a benchmark for good practices worldwide because its system has four components that he considered essential: "There needs to be palliative care teams in hospitals; professionals need to be on contact with family physicians, nurses and the entire staff involved in patient care; special units need to be available within hospitals; and care centers need to be built to care for those in the last phase of their life, where they can die in peace."