In 2014, as part of its activities for the development of effective palliative care for older people, the Maruzza Foundation launched the MIRSA Project. The principal aim of this pilot training scheme is to improve the quality of care provided to older people living in nursing homes with advanced-stage, chronic, degenerative disease with a limited life expectancy. Following a series of initial focus groups with staff and family members, several aspects of care delivery were identified for improvement.
The initial results have shown that that the MIRSA Project successfully provided skills training to 43 healthcare professionals. These were included 4x4hourly sessions with an expert Instructor and 3X3hourly sessions for a guided discussion of cases studies.
After six months an audit meeting was organised with each head of department and respective nursing coordinator to examine the results according to the performance indicators identified.
The audit indicated a 100% positive implementation for the following indicators:
- definition of the individual care plan and information communicated to the patient, family and caregivers (100%);
- assessment of the patient’s psychological condition (100%);
- proposal and support for the active participation of the patient and/or family in the care programme (100%).
Once the evaluation of the of the improvements perceived by the patient, staff and family members is terminated, the replication of the project in other public and private care homes will be considered.
In the healthcare sector, skills training is strategic and essential to the development and attainment of care goals. It is acknowledged that the acquisition of a skill is a course of action that cannot be accomplished in a single episode but must be practised and repeated over time to be effective in producing significant and long-term changes in performance.
For this reason, the Foundation will continue to support the development of additional projects aimed at bettering the quality of life of older people through the delivery of appropriate and effective palliative care and pain management.
In 2012, the Maruzza Foundation launched the “Palliative Care for Older People” project bringing together experts from the largest professional associations in the fields of geriatric and palliative medicine in Europe: the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EUGMS) and the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC), to develop strategies for the integration of palliative care principles to geriatric healthcare programs.
On September 25th, 2012, at the European Parliament Building in Brussels, during an event organised by the Maruzza Foundation, a joint manifesto “Palliative Care for Older People in the European Union” calling upon governments and institutions to ensure that every older citizen with chronic disease is offered the best possible palliative care approach possible was presented to MEPs. This document will be the basis of an ‘action plan’ for the integration of patient-centred palliative care for older generations into national healthcare policies throughout Europe.
In 2011 World Health Organization (WHO), with the support of the Maruzza Foundation, published the booklet “Palliative Care for Older People: Better Practices” targeting policy- and decision-makers with recommendations for developing health care policies, clinical/research initiatives and educational programs aimed at improving and widening access to palliative care to include older generations dying from multiple diseases other than cancer. This initiative, led by Prof. Irene Higginson, Head of Palliative Care at King’s College London, and a steering committee of 15 international palliative care experts, was approved as an EAPC Taskforce project.