The Center strives to advance the understanding, practice and development of palliative care in the Czech Republic through research, education and advocacy. Established in 2014, the Center has a team of academic, clinical and policy researchers who work together using various kinds of data and clinical experience to provide the best possible guidance for further development of palliative care.
The Center is the only non profit organisation in the Czech Republic focused specifically on academic and policy research in palliative care. The Center does not provide direct patient care but aims to facilitate a change in health and social care system through supporting care providers and policy makers in developing the most effective ways of helping patients at the end of life. We work in teams of researchers and healthcare professionals under the leadership of Dr Martin Loucka, who is also the founder of the organization. Oversight is provided by the board of trustees composed of 3 respected authorities from different areas of society, serving their role on honorary, unpaid basis.
The main areas of our research are the quality of life of patients with advanced disease and their families, and the evaluation of clinical and socioeconomic outcomes of palliative care. The results of our work are used to inform the development of clinical guidelines and to improve the evidence base of palliative care. Our team also works on policy research together with local councils, professional bodies and the government.
Examples of our published research work
Vlčková K., et al. (in press). Factors influencing prognostic awareness in advanced cancer: A systematic review. Psycho-oncology.
Vlčková K., et al. (in press). Psychometric properties of Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale: Czech standardization and validation. BMC Palliative Care.
Houska, A., & Loučka, M. (2019). Patients’ Autonomy at the End of Life: A Critical Review. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 57(4), 835–845. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.12.339
Examples of our policy papers
Palliative care in Prague
The Center conducted policy analysis of palliative care in Prague for the Prague City Council. The analysis was used as foundation for the development of long term strategy for the development of palliative care in the capital city of Prague.
Palliative care for children in the Czech Republic
The Center together with the Czech Society for Palliative Care mapped out for the first time the state of affairs of palliative care for children in the Czech Republic.
Organization of community specialized palliative care services in Europe
Our review of different models of organization of specialized palliative care services in community (home hospice) was used by Czech Society for Palliative Medicine and other stakeholders during negotiations with insurance providers and government for the development of new reimbursement scheme for this sector.
Center is involved in the development and delivery of various educational activities for professionals and the general public.
Examples of our education courses
End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) is an internationally licensed course which provides nurses with basic education in palliative care. The course is written by nurses for nurses but all members of the multidisciplinary team are welcome to attend. We run both open ELNEC courses several times a year and tailored courses for organizations which want to educate larger numbers of their staff at the same time. Around 400 professionals attend our ELNEC courses every year.
Espero is a three days intensive communication training course for physicians developed by the Centre. Aiming at physicians, it teaches how to communicate complicated and serious news. The course is evidence based and focused on practicing communication skills using role-play exercises and immediate feedback.
PALLIATIVE CARE IN NURSING HOMES
We run a number of educational courses for nursing homes which want to improve their competences in palliative care.
We strive to improve the public awareness and understanding of palliative care through various public campaigns, debates and collaboration with non-governmental and non-profit organizations. The Center also offers expert consultation services for policy makers and relevant institutions.
Examples of our advocacy activities:
Together until the End
We have been a long-time partner of the Avast foundation and together developed a nation-wide programme for hospitals which wanted to initiate palliative care programmes, which was not available in large majority of Czech hospitals. This was the beginning of a complex change in our hospital care system, the programme was followed by a government-led project aimed to develop a sustainable model for palliative care consult services in hospitals.
General Practitioners and palliative care
Campaign aimed at enhancing palliative care skills and knowledge of GPs across the Czech Republic. During the two years of the project over 1 000 GPs attended our seminars and our practical learning material “Top 10 tips for GPs and palliative care” has been distributed and downloaded in thousands of copies.
Card game about death and dying
We are finalising the Czech version of the US conversation card game on death and dying “Hello”. It offers an easy, non-threatening way to start a conversation with family and friends about wishes and worries that matter the most to us. We plan to distribute this tool to universities, health care and social care providers, hospitals and hospices as well as to the general public in our country to improve the sensitivity to topics related to death and dying.
Martin Loucka, Center’s director, alumni of Lancaster University (UK) is currently a board member of the European Association for Palliative Care and works with several task forces and special interest groups across Europe.
We are part of an international consortium which received funding from the The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) for a project called “Scaling up the Family Carer Decision Support Intervention: A multi-site implementation evaluation”.
We present the results of our work regularly at national and international conferences such as EAPC congresses. We are grateful that many international experts accepted our invitation in the past years (for example Sheila Payne, Sean Morrison, James Tulsky, Claudia Bausewein, Kevin Brazil, Fliss Murtagh) and came to share their expertise with the palliative care community in the Czech Republic.
Dykova 15, Prague 10, 101 00, Czech Republic