The Brazilian Association of Hematology, Hemotherapy and Cell Therapy (ABHH) is the premier hematology association in Brazil, representing more than 4,000 members in the region. ABHH promotes, guides and defends policies and measures that determine ethics, recognition, dignity and appreciation within the hematology profession in Brazil and abroad, advocating for quality patient care, providing education and training programs, and encouraging multidisciplinary approach in the development of the hematology profession in Latin America.

ABHH enhances job skills of hematologists in Brazil by providing access to training and education to its members and the community at large. One of ABHH’s key focus areas is related to continuing education of hematologists and hemotherapists in Brazil. From a significant portfolio of offerings available to members, ABHH has recently identified the need to address some challenging themes that residents deal with in their daily lives outside the field – The elaboration of the Psychological Support Program in Hematology, Blood Transfusion and Cell Therapy for Medical Residents emerged within the ABHH medical residency support program; another program focused on carrying for a dying patient.

Doctors who develop burnout make more errors and are less likely to answer patients’ questions or fully discuss their treatment options. Interestingly, as people develop burnout, they show reduced empathy for others (so-called compassion fatigue). Compassion fatigue has been called the cost of caring because it is more commonly seen in health professionals such as doctors.

Top 5 Causes of Stress:

Work effort
Work efficiency
Work-life balance
A sense of meaning
Flexibility, control, and autonomy

ABHH conducted a series of interviews to learn more about stress and burnout and found out that women reported a number of different mental health symptoms, with tearfulness and anxiety as the most frequently mentioned issues. In addition, number of women reported feeling stressed, isolated, lonely, angry, panicked, frustrated, worried, scared and anxious.

ABHH started a psychological support network for young students and residents to combat burnout and depression. Numerous activities and actions in this regard were offered to help offset the impact of stress. Psychological support has become one of the fundamental pillars of professional development of ABHH’s education lineup. Tips from books, films, psychologists’ webinars about mindfulness and mentoring were offered to students and residents through a portal with telephone service, face-to-face service and digital support.

ABHH is committed to strengthening communities through knowledge resources. Another area where ABHH is working to make a difference is carrying for a dying patient. Looking after patients who are dying makes many feel uncomfortable. What one should be doing or saying is often unclear. Although we feel we should be doing “something to help” we can often be uncertain what that “something” is. Some of this uncertainty arises because being in contact with people who are dying is neither a common experience nor is it easy to talk about or seek advice on how we should be responding and helping.

Some health professionals deal with this by developing a dark sense of humor, others retreat to avoid all but the most minimal contact with the dying and their relatives. Even those who have worked in the field many years may not have learned or developed their skills and knowledge in this very important part.

ABHH supported some of the important facts finding about end-of-life care in Brazil and provided practical advice about managing this particularly significant part of life.

With support from the Brazilian Ministry of Education, ABHH promoted a Symposium in partnership with an organization focused on providing support to those dealing with loss. Experts from the Entrelaços Institute talked about how to deal with the issue. Roughly 800 attendees participated in this program.

For more information about these and other programs, contact Aline Pimenta Ache, General Manager of ABHH, at aline.pimenta@abhh.org.br.