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Latest Willow Wood - Reaching out to Brazil

Willow Wood is noted as a centre of excellence, and Dr Juliana Cangussu from the University of Sao Paulo has been spending a month here, working with the clinical team, to find out more about the way the Hospice works.

Dr Juliana had worked in Rio for 10 years, where she had an interest in geriatrics before moving to Sao Paulo and developing her career in palliative care, which she sees in many ways as a natural progression and actually describes as “beautiful medicine”. On first arriving at Willow Wood she was very surprised to see the lovely gardens, rooms and facilities, as she said: “It’s so lovely, like a hotel.However the atmosphere and energy at Willow Wood is the same as my Hospice in Sao Paulo – people are always amazed at the life and laughter when they walk through the door”.

Hospice care in England is much better established than in many other countries; it is still a relatively new concept in Brazil although it has been gaining ground over the last 20 years or so.

Dr Juliana was also surprised at the ratio of staff to patients here at Willow Wood. In her unit 14 doctors may see around 200 patients over a period of one month, whereas here medical director Dr Mike Tapley and his team of 14 doctors and 30 nurses might only see around 100 patients in that time.Of course, that means that there is a much better understanding of each patient as an individual, and that our care is very closely tailored to specific wants and needs.

One innovation that she was particularly impressed with, and hopes to instigate on her return to Brazil, is the Multi-Professional Tool Kit developed here at Willow Wood to aid communication.It’s a record not only for clinical staff to complete, but also for the patient to record their feelings, and wishes about their illness and their treatment.The patient holds this booklet and is able to update it at any time, thus ensuring that their requirements and aspirations are at the centre of any plans.

It’s been an intense and interesting few weeks, both for Dr Juliana and for the staff here at Willow Wood. This international interchange of ideas and shared experiences is vital to maintain our position at the forefront of Hospice care.

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