BELhospice in Belgrade, Serbia became our country partner in 2006. Serbia has the highest cancer mortality rate in Europe but BELhospice is still the only NGO in Serbia offering free of charge specialist palliative care.
It is difficult for medical charities to receive state funding and authorisation in Serbia. In 2017 BELhospice’s home care service was officially recognised by the Government and that service is now licensed. This is a major step and acknowledged the international standard of the services provided by the team.
BELhospice offers home-care services in Belgrade and in 2018 a hospice care centre was opened and a palliative day-care service was added – the first in the country.
Services in the day care centre include health check-ups, medication advice, psycho-social therapies, creative art workshops, and hair and beauty treatments. These services are very important for oncology patients as they bring them a better quality of life and they feel accepted and cared for by the community. It is also helpful for their families as they can take a break from every day care of the patients.
In 2022, BELhospice provided services for over 300 adults and 400 family members through 886 home-visits in Belgrade. Usually in Serbia, when a patient’s treatment is completed, they are left to go home to their families who would then care for them until the end of their life, with no support from the health or social care system. BELhospice is working to change this.
From 2022, BELhospice began a children’s project, making it the only organisation in Serbia to provide palliative care services at home for children.