The EU Erasmus+ funded project “Act Now” kicked off in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the General Hospital “Papageorgiou” on 15 December 2018. The meeting was well attended by the partners from Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, UK and the European Cleft Organisation (ECO, the Netherlands).
The Greek partners presented an overview of the project’s objectives, outputs and desired outcomes. This two-year project aims at developing a training programme for a variety of health professionals, such as physicians, surgeons, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians, as well as social workers and medical students.
The training material will be based on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The partners from the UK introduced ACT in relation with people with visible disfigurements. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a suitable approach for patients with body image dissatisfaction (BID) resulting from disfiguring conditions (e.g. craniofacial, neurological, skin conditions), diseases (e.g. cancer, meningitis), injuries (e.g. burns, combat-related injuries), or relating with weight concerns. These conditions have an impact on physical and mental health, treatment decisions and recovery. The training program aims at facilitating patient adjustment to the challenges of living with a visible difference, promoting patients’ psychological flexibility. Healthcare professionals and students in Europe will implement new skills and resources in their daily routine practice to provide enhanced care for patients with BID. Furthermore, the project aims to raise awareness and to contribute to a social dialogue about discrimination and social exclusion of vulnerable patients.
Other issues highlighted at the meeting included the time schedule, due dates, deliverables, project management, development of the website and multiplier events. The dates of the next meetings in Cyprus, Slovenia, Estonia and Romania were also discussed and settled.
Intellectual Outputs (IOs)
I01: National report, analysis and survey: the national reports address patients with BID, including information about how health professionals deal with the issue in each partner country and how BID affects people in diverse cultures/immigrants. The National reports emphasise the need for training and provide the basis for national adaptation of the training material, a stepping stone to ensure the project’s impact and transferability.
I02: Theoretical paper on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for patients with visible differences: the partners generate a report that will guide the development of the training material, including current knowledge, theoretical and methodological contributions to the topic.
I03: Pedagogical report on the required learning outcomes: the partners draw upon their extensive pedagogical experience from other international/national projects to develop training material for professionals across different cultural settings.
I04: Curriculum development-Learning/teaching/training material: the curriculum draws together the tools, methods and other training materials into an accessible format, incorporates cultural specificities, allows target groups to follow a training course that may be studied as self-directed learning or delivered as a formally-organised course.
I05: Piloting and testing of training course: a pre- and post-KAPb test, an evaluation questionnaire, is designed to measure participants’ knowledge before and after the course.
I06: Revision-finalisation of the training course: the partners complete overall changes of the training material and cultural adaptations, and develop a booklet including introduction, purpose of the project, project outcomes, didactic guidelines, pilot testing results, summary and information about the partners.
Summary of expected results:
- National Analysis and Survey.
- Theoretical Report on ACT for patients with visible differences.
- Development of a concrete/focused training course.
- Testing and piloting of the course.
- Development of an open access training resource via the project’s website.
- Translation and adaptation of the developed course materials.