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Palliative medical care has made great progress in recent years. It focuses on improving the quality of life of severely ill patients. In combination with other professions, it contributes to preserving people’s dignity until the very last.

Death scares us, even though it is an inseparable part of life. We try to use language to make it seem less hard, poetically calling it the “brother of sleep”. But people, who are close to death often fear death itself less than they fear agonizing pain before dying. This is precisely what palliative medicine addresses.

In the past, palliative medicine was frequently taught by anaesthesiology departments. But an approach which merely seeks to numb pain is not enough for patients in their final phase of life. A multi-professional approach is needed, one which takes the psychological, social and spiritual suffering of the patients and their families into account in addition to the physiological pain. This justifies palliative medicine as a specialized field of study of its own.

Michael Wirtz

“Every year in Aachen hundreds of people are helped during the last and most painful phase of their lives”

Michael Wirtz

Chair of the Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine

About the Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine

We are passionate about preserving the dignity and quality of life at the end stage of people’s lives. The Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine is dedicated to the needs of people with incurable diseases and limited life-expectancies.

Supporting the care of seriously or terminally ill people the aim is to preserve the quality of life and the dignity of affected people at the end stage of their life.

In 1998 the” Grünenthal Palliative Medicine Foundation” was set up to promote science and research in this field and the care of people with severe or terminal diseases. The foundation capital facilitated the construction of the Department of Palliative Medicine at the Aachen University Hospital and provides funding for Palliative Medicine at the University Hospital every year.

The Death wish of people with severe or terminal diseases often does not arise from the disease itself, but from the fear of a painful death, of loneliness, suffering and unforeseeable changes in all areas of life. Meeting these fears and addressing them is the aim of the Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine. The Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine awards and supports initiatives and meetings in palliative care and medicine. Similar foundations have subsequently been set up in Spain, Portugal and Ecuador.

“Not the extension of the survival time at any price, but the quality of life, i.e. the wishes, goals and the patient's position are at the forefront of the treatment.”

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Roman Rolke

Chair of Palliative Medicine at the Medical Faculty of RWTH Aachen University Hospital (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Germany)

The Chair of Palliative Medicine – supported by the regular donations of the Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine - has been significantly involved in the development of palliative care in Germany, with high national and international visibility.

Based on a grant from the Grünenthal Foundation through a donation from the personal assets of the Grünenthal Foundation Chair Michael Wirtz, this first university Chair for Palliative Medicine in Germany was established in the year 2003. Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2018, the Department of Palliative Medicine at RWTH Aachen University has excellent clinical structures for specialist palliative care. A 9-beds palliative care unit is available.

Palliative care consultation services are available for concomitant delivery of palliative care in other departments of the university hospital in Aachen. Every year over 700 people are helped there during the last and most painful phase of their lives. Academic leadership of palliative medicine is based on excellent education of medical students with innovative methods such as simulation patients as well as a subject-specific palliative care training for all health professions. International visibility has been promoted with collaborations throughout the world, namely Latin America, India, China and Europe, including, e.g., membership in the cancer pain guideline development group of the European School of Medical Oncology (ESMO).

Frank Elsner

“With our patients, it’s no longer about healing, but about improving their quality of life until the end.”

Prof. Dr. Frank Elsner

Palliative medicine specialist at Aachen University Hospital (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Germany)

International Congress: "Palliative Care in Latin America" Peru, 12-13 Oct. 2018

Palliative care is an important issue in Latin America, simultaneously representing both challenge and need.

What is needed above all, in addition to better pain treatment and access to appropriate pain medication, is the training of palliative care staff.

According to Peru's National Institute of Statistics and Information (INEI) 60% of Peruvians need access to palliative care at some point in their lives. For this reason, the Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine intends to provide support for education and training in Peru by awarding scholarships to medical students.

The Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine has taken the initiative to give fresh directional impetus with a congress attended by international specialists. The "Palliative Care in Latin America" Congress will take place in Lima on 12-13 October 2018. It not only offers a platform for scientific exchange to participants from all over the world but also makes a significant contribution towards preventing the unnecessary suffering of terminally ill patients.

The Cuidados Paliativos: Fortaleciendo el Sistema Sociosanitario” (CP-FeSS) platform.

The Cuidados Paliativos: Fortaleciendo el Sistema Sociosanitario” platform.

For Palliative strategies to be effective, governments and civil society should work together and find ways to strengthen the delivery of palliative care system.

For this purpose, in Latin America leading organisations in palliative care have joined forces in the “Cuidados Paliativos: Fortaleciendo el Sistema Sociosanitario” (CP-FeSS) platform. Under the scientific responsibility of the Asociación Latinoamericanade Cuidados Paliativos (ALCP).

Collaborating partners of the CP-FeSS 2018 are the Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones para el Estudio del Dolor (FEDELAT) and the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC). The Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine is responsible for funding and non-financial support (e.g. logistical support). The CP-FeSS platform invites national and regional policy makers, regulators and health care decision makers to interact in an open dialogue on policies with the ambition to improve access to palliative care in Latin America. More information on the CP-FeSS you find here

Tania Pastrana

“Actually, we work for life”

Dr. med. Dipl.-Soz. Tania Pastrana

Palliative medicine specialist at Aachen University Hospital (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Germany), President Asociación Latinoamericana de Cuidados Paliativos (ALPC)

Contact

Grünenthal Foundation for Palliative Medicine / Grünenthal-Stiftung für Palliativmedizin
Steinfeldstraße 2
D-52222 Stolberg
Germany

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