Erasmus+ project in connection with Palliative Care and Undergraduate Nursing

The Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen, along with the research partners in Finland, Romania, Austria and the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), is to develop a guideline to place more emphasis on ‘palliative care’ within the European Nursing study programmes.

The NursEduPal@Euro project will start as from 1 November for a period of 3 years.

“This research project finds its origin in the finding that the basic knowledge of palliative care of graduated bachelors in Nursing is insufficient”, explains Veerle Coupez, lecturer Elderly Care at Howest and research coordinator within the Nursing study programme. “And this does not only apply to our country, also our partners in Romania, Finland, Austria and the EAPC have come to a similar conclusion. Time after time, research reveals that palliative care is in fact as important as preventive and curative care. 1 out of 12 persons will develop diabetes during their lives, 1 out of 6 develops dementia, but 1 out of 1 will pass away. Nevertheless, within the European Nursing study programmes little attention is paid to the palliative section. In our ageing society, the need for specialised nurses in this field continues to increase.”

Threefold Programme

The ‘NursEduPal@Euro’ project will consist of three parts. In first instance, the core competences the nurses need in connection with palliative care will be listed at European level. Afterwards, research will be conducted on how these competences can be taught. Veerle Coupez: “It is not feasible to have all students take a work placement in a palliative ward. So, we must look for other innovative methods and tools to have palliative care taught in the study programmes. Simulation education e.g.  is one of the strengths of Howest. Responding to dying situations and having conversations with palliative patients do not necessarily have to take place ‘at the patient’s physical bedside’. Then again, our Finnish partner has set up an escape room, but we will also look how we can implement e-learning, blended teaching or virtual reality.” The last part of the project consists of converting the competences and training tools in a European matrix. Lecturers will be able to use this ‘toolkit’ as a guideline to integrate palliative care into their courses. 

Read more at Howest homepage