Poster Presentation COSA-IPOS Joint Scientific Meeting 2012

Attitude to psycho-oncology and palliative care in Serbia today  (descriptive presentation) (#454)

Tamara Klikovac 1
  1. National Institut for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia, Paediatric Oncology Ward, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Psychology, University of Belgrade

In Serbia there are about 7.5 million people (last census).
Malignant disease affect about 33,000 people annually, and about 400 children.
Approximately 22,000 people and about 250 children die every year from malignant diseases. Unfortunately, no precise data for other children's life-limiting and life-threatening diseases. In our society exists a lack of attention towards psycho-social needs of cancer patients and their families (psychological, social or spiritual needs) during the all phases of illness and  especially in terminal phases . Problems are overlooked and rejected (patient`s rights especially).Death and dying belonged to the taboo.Patients mainly die in their home alone, depressed , in bad conditions, without dignity,suffering in pain and other symptoms. Traditional medical model with strong attitudinal barriers for psycho-social care for cancer patients and their families during the  illness trajectory, is dominant in Serbian hospitals and  throughout health care system, also.  Communication skills, breaking bad news, bereavemnt support were not included into medical curriculum. We haven`t basic or additional education in the field of Psycho-Oncology or Palliative Care (in the school or at the academical level) There are five specialized children's hospitals in Serbia (three in Belgrade, in the cities of Novi Sad and Nis). There are no specialized department, hospice or home care teams for palliative care of children. All of us who work with children and teenagers with limited prognoses are faced with the suffering of children, families and we use isolated interventions in our work (cropping pain and psychological support).In situations when you need to decide whether to stop treatment or continue treatment although it will not lead to desired outcomes, in our environment it is almost always a decision to continue treatment, regardless of the quality of life of children and their families and without care for psycho/social aspects.