Impact of Salary Increases

In February this year the Romanian government announced that the salaries of doctors and other medical professionals would be increased by at least 70% with effect from the 1st March.  Depending on specialty residency doctors will receive increases between 151% to 287%.

Whilst this affects state employees, Hospice Casa Sperantei has had to respond to this change to be fair to its staff. No warning was given to allow the charity to plan for this eventuality and the budget had to be reviewed and cuts made.

How this affect our work

Sadly, one casualty of the state’s decision is the reduction of the Bucharest home care team from eight to just one doctor and two nurses. This team of just three people will have to cover the whole of the capital. Nurses make up to four home visits a day so this cut is a reduction of some 100 home visits a week. The state will not take these visits over – it is very rare for a state doctor or nurse to make home visits and our patients are often too sick or too poor to travel to clinics. We were also hoping to start a paediatric home care service in Bucharest but that has had to be deferred.

Hospice Casa Sperantei, Bucharest

US Palliative care specialist visits Hospice Casa Sperantei in Romania

Dr Liviu Chindris recently visited our hospice in Bucharest and our children’s respite and therapy center at Copaceni.

Liviu was born in Romania and went to medical school there. In 1983 he escaped the communist regime and headed to the US as a political refugee.

He passed his equivalency exams, went for residency training in New York, then settled in Los Angeles and joined a large medical group in southern California, where he spent the following 23 years.

His primary specialty is Internal Medicine but he developed a particular interest in end of life issues and now works for the largest hospice agency in the US. In this role he provides in-patient as well as out-patient hospice and palliative care consultations in and around Southern California, educates and trains staff and helps with marketing and business development.

Liviu met Alex some time ago in Los Angeles and showed him some of the work he was then involved with. They kept in touch and Liviu decided to see our work in Romania for himself.

Alex and Hospices of Hope founder, Graham Perolls CMG, OBE, took Liviu and Dana Moldovan (who is from Rotary Club and a long-term supporter from LA) around Copaceni. They also had chance to visit the hospice in Bucharest.

Graham Perolls, CMG, OBE, Alex Padureanu, Dana Moldovan and Dr Liviu Chindris outside Copaceni

Following his visit, Liviu said

Almost everything I saw impressed me. Beginning with the will or the desire to provide such a badly needed service, the hard work that went into involving the local government agencies and lastly with the quality of work and services and level of facilities that [Hospice] has managed to put together.

I truly believe that you are doing a fantastic job, given the challenging environment of a developing economy, especially with the ravages left by the decades of communist regime.

Asked about the future he felt that the greatest issue facing the organization was the need for help and co-operation from local and government authorities. He felt that without this it would be difficult for us to continue to provide services at the same level and quality as we do now.

This is an issue we are aware of and our National Development Center in Romania works hard to nurture such cooperation. But it is an ongoing challenge that takes up a considerable amount of resource.

Bucharest Half Marathon Heroines

Every year some 700 runners take part in the Bucharest Half Marathon to raise funds for Hospice Casa Sperantei. This year the runners included twenty- five brave ladies cared for by Hospice Casa Sperantei. They have all suffered the physical and emotional stresses of cancer but were still determined to take part in the event.

Just to get there was an endurance test for Maria. She arrived four hours before the start of the race because there was only one bus to Bucharest from her home and it was a very long, slow journey.

Elena is in her eighties but she managed to attend as she wanted to support the friends she had made at the Hospice. Two runners were still hospitalized but were allowed to run as a nurse accompanied them and Lily ran 3kms in flip flops and was one of the first to reach the finish line.

Ana Maria with her relay team 

Another participant was pediatric patient, Ana Maria. Ana Maria lives with cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She has a very poor memory but she can remember the race very clearly. A volunteer, also called Ana, put together a relay team to push Ana Maria around and the group had a tremendous time. At the finish line Ana Maria shouted out at the top of her voice

I am so happy!

For information about our work or to donate see our website
Hospices of Hope is a working name of Hospice of Hope Romania inc, a registered 501(c)3 charity
with registered address: 29 Dickinson Avenue, Nyack, New York, 10960.