Background

We started work in Romania in 1992.  There was no hospice care whatsoever available in the country at that time. Morphine was illegal. Cancer patients had no pain relief and were simply left to die in pain. The health system was corrupt and people avoided seeking medical help as they could not afford to pay a bribe. Other countries in the region have similar problems and so we extended our work into Serbia in 2006 and the Republic of Moldova in 2008.

Since 1992 we have:

  • become the leading hospice development charity in South East Europe 

  • cared for more than 40,000 patients and their families

  • successfully lobbied for the introduction of morphine based medicines

  • raised more than £20 million to support hospice care in South East Europe

  • been recognised as a Centre of Excellence by the World Health Organisation

  • partnered with many international agencies such as the Norway Fund, the Swiss Partnership, the EU, USAID and the Open Society Institute

  • introduced new technologies including virtual and augmented reality techniques to help patients

  • worked with the Romanian and Serbian governments in the introduction of national hospice care strategies

We have built and opened two purpose-built teaching hospices, three educational centres, two rural mobile teams and three home-based services. All care services are free of charge to patients. 

We have established an organisation in Moldova which supports a network of small hospices in rural areas.       

        

Awards

Together with our country partners we have received over 20 awards in Eastern Europe from public and private organisations for projects related to palliative care and community involvement including

  • 2014 - Having previously received an OBE, Graham was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for rendering extraordinary service in a foreign country

  • 2014 - Hospice Casa Sperantei became a Nursing Centre of Excellence in Palliative Care, part of the Bristol Myers Foundation programme in Eastern Europe

  • 2011 - Hospice Casa Sperantei received an Award of Excellence from the End of Life Nursing Education program run by City of Hope, Beckman Research Institute and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing USA

  • 2003 - Hospice Casa Sperantei was recognised as a “Beacon of Palliative Care” by the Open Society Institute in conjunction with the University of Sheffield 

Numbers / stats

Thanks to our education and training programme and our lobbying there are now hospice care teams/wards in 20 out of 41 counties in Romania following our care model.

In 2015 just under 8% of terminally ill patients in Romania received some sort of specialist hospice care.  Hospice Casa Sperantei cared for over a quarter of those patients.

We have provided more than 20,000 training sessions in hospice care for thousands of healthcare professionals from more than 19 countries in the region (red areas shown on the map).

Quotes

When Graham came to Romania in 1992 he brought with him the hospice movement. This was founded in the UK in the 1960s around the simple and powerful idea that people have the right to end their days in comfort and in dignity. In Brasov, Graham found doctors and nurses willing to take up this cause and together they founded ‘Casa Sperantei’ – the House of Hope – to provide palliative care to terminally ill children and adults in the city... My congratulations to Graham Perolls and the whole team at Casa Sperantei on receiving this distinction from Her Majesty The Queen, and my thanks to them for bringing hope to many in Romania” 

                                                                - His Excellency Martin Harris, former British Ambassador to Romania

                          Prince Charles visits Hospice Casa Sperantei - 2017  

40% to 60% of end of- life care services are paid for by sources other than the patient. This is largely because of generous charitable funding. For example, it was a UK philanthropist, Graham Perolls, who set up Romania’s leading hospice programme, Casa Sperantei, to offer free palliative care services"

                                                                          - The Economist’s 2015 Quality of Death Index Ranking palliative care across the world

                                  Hospice Casa Sperantei - Brasov, Romania

We learned in nursing school that you are not allowed to sit on the bed with a patient, and you are not allowed to touch if the patient has a wound or a fever. You have to try to keep yourself safe. So patients were really surprised when somebody comes and takes their hands, shares their grief.  It was something new”

                                                                                                                                                          - Gabi Baila, our first Romanian nurse

             A brief moment, photographed during a counselling session 

"Hospice has been Britain's greatest gift to the world in the 20th century"

                                                                                                                                         - William Rees-Mogg, former Editor of the Times 

                       A young patient enjoying 'The Holiday Club' - 2015  

Reports

See our annual review

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