Background In 2015, after 20 years in preparation, a hospice in Cyprus opened its doors. As the only hospice on the Island of Cyprus, they were challenging the norms of culture and expectations for palliative and end of life care. Many residents of Cyprus have strong Christian faith which influences their views, a culture where ‘life is precious beyond all means’. Many did not understand what a hospice is or does, as there is no word in the Greek language for hospice. Delivering palliative and end of life care to an island community with a shared geographical isolation was familiar to us; given our longevity and stability as an organisation meant that we were uniquely placed to offer the support being sought.
Aims The aim of the Cypriot hospice was to twin with a partner UK hospice to aid in its development, having a shared sense of purpose.
Methods Support included sharing and development of practice and policies along with advice on retail and fundraising activities. Nursing documentation to support the delivery of care and education, training and practical development for staff has been well received. This has been achieved through ongoing exchange visits in both directions.
Results We have seen an increased confidence in the Cypriot hospice staff along with developments and improvements in patient care and practice.
Conclusion What has emerged has been a relationship that is proving to be mutually beneficial to both organisations. It has enabled us to think beyond the realms of our own service, having a greater understanding of the challenges faced in delivering care in a different cultural setting, sharing and learning to improve patient care which is at the heart of what palliative care is all about.
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