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P-15 Bosnian communities: understanding and supporting the refugee experience of end of life care
  1. Sharon Hudson
  1. Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, Birmingham, UK


Over 10,000 Bosnian refugees came to the UK, mainly in 1995, fleeing from war zones or concentration camps at the height of the holocaust. The Bosnian and Herzegovina UK Network (BHUKN) was set up in 1996 to represent this community, providing access to culturally appropriate psychological and social support. It was recognised by the Community that there were increasing numbers of traumatic deaths, with people experiencing poor outcomes.

The Community approached St Christopher’s Hospice to support them to design a programme of education to enable volunteers to be able to support end of life care at home. St Christopher’s Hospice approached Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice to work in partnership. The QELCA model was agreed as an appropriate method to support the aims of the programme.

Aim To empower key members of the Bosnian community to provide emotional support and practical skills to those facing end of life to enable them to have the best possible experience.

A successful funding bid was submitted to Dunhill Medical. Two facilitators from Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice were trained as QELCA facilitators and supported in the delivery of the programme by the Director of Education from St Christopher’s Hospice. Five community development workers from the BHUKN attended the QELCA programme which included; setting objectives, practice placement, taught sessions, reflective practice and action planning.

Outcomes Together we have learned so much. Practice placements threw up organisational challenge and the model of educational delivery may have not given us the time to truly hear and understand the experiences of the Bosnian Community. QELCA supports a facilitation approach and has previously been used to support clinicians in practice, so may need some adaption to be used in a Community Development context. We are looking forward to the opportunity to build relationships with the Community in the next stage of the programme.

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