News nr. 28 | August 2012
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Bioethics Centre FMUL - Academic Unit for Studies and Action on Mourning



ACADEMIC UNIT FOR STUDIES AND ACTION ON MOURNING



  INTRODUCTION

Increased longevity and the prevalence of chronic diseases pose major challenges to health professionals in terms of fully supporting this type of patients and their families. The transfer from dying at home with the family to a death in hospital (? 70%) implies that doctors have increased responsibility in addressing the preparatory grief of patients and anticipatory mourning of their families. This requires an increasingly comprehensive professional practice, including proactive care to prevent situations of prolonged grief responsible for a major burden on families and which can have psychosocial and economic repercussions, such as seeking further health care and absenteeism from work.  


  BACKGROUND

The Faculty of Medicine has been a pioneer in Portugal in offering training on mourning to students, health professionals and the public at large, focusing particularly on the undergraduate and postgraduate training of health professionals. 

While training and research activities on mourning have taken place since the start of the Centre, the Academic Unit for Studies and Action on Mourning was only officially set up in 2012, coordinated by Professor António Barbosa and with Alexandra Coelho (MSc), Miguel Barbosa (MSc) and Pedro Frade (MSc) as members 


  OBJECTIVES

 
• Be a dynamic hub for undergraduate and postgraduate education in this field at FMUL;
• Make specific bibliography available;
• Foster scientific research in this field and welcome national and international projects;
• Create an e-learning unit on mourning for health professionals and the general public;
• Encourage synergies and partnerships with other public and private institutions, private institutions of social solidarity (IPPS), and scientific societies involved in this field;
• Provide collective support assistance in the event of disasters;
• Disseminate topics related to this field inside and outside FMUL through the organization of seminars, workshops, and national and international congresses.
 

  ACTIVITIES

Education 

Undergraduate education

Mourning in Medicine elective subject 
 
General objectives:
• Understand the main conceptual models of mourning;
• Identify the key stages of the grieving process;
• Differentiate between normal, complicated and psychopathological mourning;
• Identify risk factors of complicated grief;
• Learn strategies for individual, family and group prevention and intervention;
• Know how to intervene in disaster situations. 


Postgraduate education       

     Advanced (master and doctoral degrees) Updating and improving courses 

• 12 Updating Postgraduate Courses on “Mourning  

General objectives 

- Offer health professionals an opportunity to explore, in cognitive and experiential terms, the feelings and the meaning attributed to life, death and to the dying process, in order to include individual affections in therapeutical skills in their daily work with patients and families. 


Specific objectives 
- Reflect on the process of developing personal feelings associated with loss and the dying process
- Recognize the needs and difficulties of the families of persons with progressive or incurable diseases
- Acquire skills and practice in intervention therapeutic techniques on individuals and groups, on the emotional impact in the process of advanced disease 
 



• 2 courses “Intervention on loss, death and mourning”          

General objective 
- Offer training based on the integrative-relational model to health professionals who wish to acquire knowledge and intervention skills in the area of mourning.
 
Specific objectives 
- Understand the conceptual framework based on the integration of updated general and specific theories on the grieving process;
- Define therapeutic fundamentals and objectives to intervene on the preparation of the process of loss.


• 1st Improvement Postgraduate Course in “Mourning in Health Sciences”  

General objectives 
- Provide understanding of the explanatory theories of mourning
- Offer training on evaluation procedures
- Qualify individual, family, group, and community interventions on the process of mourning 




• 1st Improvement Postgraduate Course in “Intervention on the Mourning Process in the Health Sciences”           

Objectives 

- Offer training on mourning evaluation procedures, particularly in perinatal situations, after suicide or divorce
- Qualify individual, family, group, and community interventions on the process of mourning 




• Workshop “Mourning and Search for Meaning”, with Professor Robert Neimeyer    

Objectives 

- Apply contemporary models of the mourning process to clinical cases;
- Recognize criteria for complicated grief;
- Recognize the role of construction in the process of adapting to bereavement;
- Identify therapeutic strategies for reconstruction of meaning in the presence of significant losses 


Research/ Intervention • Vulnerability Factors for Prolonged Grief Disorder in Bereaved Relatives followed up in Palliative Care (2009)
• Intervention on Mourning in Palliative Care, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (2010)
• Typology of complicated grief in relatives of patients in palliative care (2011)
• GRIEFPAC – The mourning process in palliative care: Protective/risk factors and bio- psychosocial and economic consequences for bereaved families and caregivers, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (2012) 


Dissemination 

Presentations at scientific conferences

Barbosa, A. (2006, October). Como lidar com as vítimas de situações de catástrofe: aspectos psicológicos. Paper presented at the Congress “Medicina de Catástrofe”, Lisbon.
Barbosa, A., Guerreiro, V., & Galriça Neto, I. (2008, July). Teaching grief process in two post-graduate courses on palliative care. Poster presented at the 8th International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society, Melbourne.
Barbosa, A. (2009, March). A morte sob o ponto de vista clínico. Paper presented at the Celebration of the day of Escola Superior de Enfermagem São João de Deus, Évora.
Barbosa, A. (2009, October). Propedêuticas do luto. Paper presented at the Conference “Exigências éticas no âmbito dos cuidados paliativos”, Angra do Heroísmo and Ponta Delgada.
Guerreiro, V., & Barbosa, A. (2010, December). Ensino pós-graduado em processo de luto: avaliação da eficácia de duas metodologias de ensino/aprendizagem. Paper presented at the III Congresso Nacional de Educação para a Saúde/I 1º Congresso Luso-Brasileiro de Educação para a Saúde, Covilhã.
Coelho, A., Delalibera, M., & A., Barbosa (2011, May). Who searches for support on grief in palliative care? Poster present at the 12th Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care, Lisbon.
Coelho, A., Delalibera, M., & A., Barbosa (2011, May). Adaptation and validation of the prolonged grief disorder assessment instrument (PG-13) for Portuguese population. Poster present at the 12th Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care, Lisbon.
Coelho, A., Delalibera, M., & A., Barbosa (2011, June). Informal caregivers’ grief: prospective study in families followed in palliative care? Poster present at the 9th International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society/ADEC 33rd Annual Conference, Miami.
Coelho, A., Delalibera, M., & A., Barbosa (2011, June). Prolonged grief disorder in palliative care. Poster present at the 9th International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society/ADEC 33rd Annual Conference, Miami.
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Coordination:
Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes
Editorial Commitee: Prof. Doutor J. Fernandes e Fernandes, Prof. Doutor Alexandre Ribeiro, Prof. Doutor António Vaz Carneiro, Prof. Doutor João Ferreira, Dr. Luis Pereira
Information Officer: Ana Raquel Moreira
Editorial Team: Ana Maria Silva, Ana Raquel Moreira, André Silva, Lara Ponte, Miguel Andrade, Rui Gomes, Sónia Barroso, Susana Henriques, Tânia Simões
Collaboration: Communication and Image Office - Ana Isabel Gonçalves da Silva, Bruno Moura
Design and Technical Support: UTI 
Design and development: Spirituc
e-mail: news@fm.ul.pt