Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.
Romanian "Casa Sperantei" Hospice has emerged immediately after uprising against communist regime in 1989, in Romania. The medical and social system, at that moment, as well as the political structures, norms and values, were seriosly degradated and the hospice care was mainly a dream for most doctors and nurses, not to mention the patients expectations, at that times. Nowadays, the Romania's full path to European Union integration, more than 10 years later, is proud to enlist more than 20s small hospice organisation acting at community level, all them being trained and coached by the Romanian leading hospice "Casa Sperantei", now one of the governmentals reliable partners in establishing the National Palliative Program in Romania, since 2008 onward.
Hospice Casa Sperantei is currently:
- a center of excellence for the Eastern Europe area
- a quality recognized provider of hospice services (with ISO, Social Services Quality Assurance and other recognition of our standards of care)
- an initiator of the local Opioid management law, model of legislative innovation for other countries in region and neighbourhood area, too (Eastern Europe and Caucasus)
- a trainer of more than 11000 professionals in palliative care
- a care for more than 12000 children and elders in need of hospice
- a founder of the National Coalition of Palliative Care, now having 17 active members
All these has become a reality in a country where:
- less than 5% of Romanians who need palliative care receive it
- usually a family member has to give up their work to care for the patient and so the family is under huge financial strain
- according to the World Health Organisation, Bucharest only, the country capital city, should have 230 specialist palliative care beds for adults and actually has ten
- more than 5,000 people in Bucharest only die of cancer each year and thousands more with other life-threatening illnesses
- 60,000 Romanians die of cancer every year.
Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
The story began with Graham Perolls first visit to Romania as a tourist in 1975. A chance encounter with a young Romanian couple in the medieval City of Brasov led to a lasting friendship and a deep interest in Romania. He returned several times throughout the seventies, and on these visits began to notice a progressive decline in people’s living standards due to the absurd policies of the communist regime. Then for some years he was unable to visit Romania, due to family and work commitments. In 1980, his father, Norman, died from cancer at St Christopher’s Hospice, and the care he received during his illness inspired him to set up a hospice charity in his home town. Consequently he became very involved in the hospice movement. He returned to Romania immediately after the Romania’s uprising in 1989, and on seeing at first hand the appalling conditions in the cancer hospital and the local orphanage, he knew that he must do something to help. After a few months, he sett up a hospice in the UK, to pioneer hospice care in Romania, the ‘Hospices of Hope’. The funds raised through its Romanian Appeal allowed him to raise awareness of hospice care in Romania, which was hugely successful. People from all fields were united in their newfound interest in the hospice movement. Following this, Casa Sperantei (or ‘home of hope’ in Romanian) was founded. Hospice Casa Sperantei has been since, the leading provider of hospice in Romania since 1992 and opened Romania’s first in-patient hospice in Brasov in 2002 which has been declared a Centre of Excellence for Central and Eastern Europe.