Optimising the psychosocial care for individuals with birth defects in Europe by implementing an innovative training method for staff in health care and NGO settings.

The succesful implementation in Serbia 




Face Value training programme – an overview from a European NGO perspective 

The Face Value project partners aimed to develop a short training course that would optimise the chances of long term positive outcomes for people with a visible difference.   Specifically, the course aimed to enhance service provision by giving care providers a greater knowledge of the psychosocial issues affecting people with visible difference. The course was designed to be cost effective and short (acknowledging the time constraints of care providers) and to be flexible in terms of format allowing it to be delivered to a variety of audiences in different settings. The project was also designed to raise awareness and contribute to a social dialogue about types of discrimination and social exclusion that individuals and families affected by disfiguring conditions experienced in the partner countries.


The national reports, and European report, demonstrated to each partner the need for more education around visible difference, and provided guidance on the specific areas that needed addressing together with suggestions for course format. From a European perspective, the importance of training for health professionals in this area was raised by every interviewee. All partners confirmed that the compiling of these reports served to stimulate constructive dialogue in their countries and cultures about key issues. In the European report a theme emerged throughout the interviews about the inability of many health care professionals to take into account ‘feelings’. Surgery/correction is seen as a solution to dissatisfaction with appearance, rather than allowing people to explore their real feelings.


The content of the course, and its design was greatly enhanced by this initial groundwork. The modular structure with clear, themed content reflects what people wanted. Modules one and two provide the setting – what are the psychological and social aspects of visible difference and how does society deal with people who ‘look different’? Module three brings into play the key ‘variables’ in coping strategies defined by social determinants – our unique partner mix coming from well-off and less well-off parts of Europe was a clear asset here in understanding impact. Module four deals directly with “feelings” issues highlighted above and focuses on a move towards holistic care, away from a biomedical approach. Crucially the final two modules focus on how to effect change through better communications in clinical settings (module 5) to practical implementation and long term sustainability within the culture of care provision (module 6).   Each module is provided in a simple PowerPoint format, making them easily accessible to a very wide audience. The content is strongly evidence-based and course participants are provided with referenced publications and papers to further enhance their knowledge. The pilot events and the comprehensive national multiplier events allowed for a thorough testing of the course with particular emphasis on pre and post assessment of knowledge. Indeed, evaluating whether course participants are learning is a prominent feature in each module, with test questions appearing regularly.  


The handbook provides essential information about pedagogical aspects of running the course including teacher preparation, learning environment and course structure. There are suggested formats for half day, one or two day courses – the latter devoting almost the entire second day to practical implementation in the working environment.


From a European perspective, ECO has been delighted to have been a part of this project. This is the first course of its kind and it should go a long way towards optimising outcomes for people with disfiguring conditions. It needs to be used, and will be – it fulfills criteria set at the outset relating to flexibility of format and length, making it accessible to a wide audience. A bonus is the fact that it is already available in five languages (English, Serbian, Bulgarian, Latvian and Turkish) making this a truly European project. Each partner will promote and deliver the course in their own environments and organisations, with ECO making it a standardised part of their international training programme, delivered throughout Europe and beyond. Application of the course in different cultural environments was considered at every stage of the course development and this should continue to be a priority as the course is rolled out in more cultural settings. The short reports by the Serbian and Bulgarian partner highlighting specific issues for the Roma population illustrates the fact that educators always need to be aware of cultural sensitivities and there is certainly scope here for further research in future, leading to more effective and impactful training programmes.



Face Value meeting in Bulgaria 

The last meeting of the Face Value project were held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in July. The partners reported back on their successful National Exploitation Multiplier Events.

  • For all participants that participated in the training facilitated by the partners, the pre and post-test indicated a significant improvement in their learning outcomes.
  • 184 participants were trained all together.

The partners all agreed upon the final task to accomplish for the final report as well as discussing the sustainability aspect of the project.







11th Australian Cleft Lip & Palate Association Conference

Face Value modules were presented at the 11th Australian Cleft Lip & Palate Association Conference on the 1st of May 2016. The training were highly appreciated by the 50 + health care professionals that attended.




National Patient Organization (NPO) in Bulgaria 

Association ALA published in the monthly bulletin of the National Patient Organization (NPO) information about Face value project.

Over 50 organizations, members of the NPO, throughout the country, representing a wide variety of medical conditions, receive a ballot and thus monitor the activities of its partners. The training modules are already in the interest of organizations and are a prerequisite for patients to require medical profesionals to get acquainted with the materials available.



The Winter School on Pediatric Rehabilitation of Turkish Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ankara-Turkey

Paediatric Rehabilitation Working Group was established in 2004 under the umbrella of Turkish Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  The Group's objectives are to follow rehabilitation areas of medicine, and studies in the technical and social areas on these topics, as well as following innovations and publications. Another important goal is to contribute to the training, education and studies of medical doctors, healthcare professions, technical and social workers. For this purpose, The Winter School on Paediatric Rehabilitation took place between 4 December and 6 December in Ankara, Turkey.  Dr.Evrim Karadag Saygı was invited as the keynote speaker for the Winter School on Paediatric Rehabilitation  presented Face Value Project and its training modules to over 100 doctors that attended the keynote. The feedback was very positive and generated a strong interest for the developed training material.



The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association

Martin Persson, University of the West of England, was invited as the keynote speaker for the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, Atlanta, USA.

Martin’s keynote was titled “How to Incorporate Psychosocial Care Provision: The Way Forward!” that was based upon 3 on-going European projects, including Face Value (2014-1-UK01-KA202-001615) and IHEM (2015-1-SE01-KA202-012291).

Over 800 health care professionals attded the keynote and the feedback was very positive and generated a strong interest for the innovative approach and the developed training material.


Face Value Training day in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Nichola Rumsey and Martin Persson, University of the West of England conducted a training day for 45 health care professionals at the medical university in Ljubljana, Slovenia on the 31st of March 2016. The Face Value training day was highly appreciated and generated a further interest of the psychosocial importance in relation to provision of care.  The feedback from the participants was that they where able to generate an understanding of the importance of psychosocial aspects quickly and how to implement psychosocial care into their daily routine.  





Meeting in Serbia

The fourth meeting for Face Value took place at University of Nîs, Medical faculty, Serbia, 23 of March 2016.  The main focus of the meeting was to feedback how the pilot testing of the developed training material proceeded at the different partners institutes.  The overall feedback was very positive and the pre and post tests showed improvement in knowledge of those that participated in the training course.




Face Value presentation to orthodontists and staff members of Department of Orthodontics, Stomatology Institute on March 30th, 2016.

Dr Maulina Ieva and Dr Zepa Inta were introducing the Face Value concept and giving the information about the project to the orthodontists and stuff members of Department of Orthodontics, Stomatology Institute. Importance of psychological aspects of patient care were highlighted during the presentation.



Face Value presentation to the 4th year undergraduate students in Faculty of Dentistry, Riga Stradins University on February 5th, 2016.

Dr Maulina Ieva and Dr Zepa Inta were introducing the Face Value concept and giving the information about the project to the 4th year undergraduate students in Faculty of Dentistry, Riga Stradins University.Discussion about the Face Value project revealed that there is knowledge and information missing so far about the psychologic needs and psychosocial aspects of the patient care available in Latvia. Importance of psychological aspects of patient care was highlighted during the meeting.


Meetings in Bulgaria

At the end of 2015 there were 2 meetings – one of the members of the National Network of specialists in early care for children with facial abnormalities and the other of the trusted speech therapists working with children with facial anomalies. In addition to the children with facial anomalies in their practice these professionals meet many other patients with visible differences. For all of them receiving psychosocial care would improve greatly treatment outcomes.

Information about the project Face value was represented by Jana Angelova. All showed a strong interest in the training modules and stated desire to participate in upcoming training seminar.


Intensive Care Nursing Certificated Training Programme

An education and training programme for nurses from different hospitals took place during 9th November and 18th December 2015 in Marmara University Pendik Research and Training Hospital. The nurses work in different hospitals in Istanbul, Turkey and they applied this programme in order to get certificate for intensive care nursing. On the last day of the training programme the supervisor of the training programme Nurse Elif Yokarıbaş, who works as a training nurse in Marmara University Pendik Research and Training Hospital presented the Project Face Value to the participants. The participant thought the project is interesting and relevant for their profession.


Appearance Matters 7 Conference 

You are invited to attend Appearance Matters 7, the 7th international multi-disciplinary conference hosted by the Centre for Appearance Research. The conference highlights research and good practice around body image and appearance. It is a great opportunity to find out about ground breaking research from world-leading appearance researchers. If you haven't already, please sign up to the Centre for Appearance Research mailing list to receive a monthly e-newsletter outlining conference updates and news.

Appearance Matters: The Podcast explores the world of appearance; presenting new insights and advances in research, as well as perspectives from researchers, clinicians, charities and organisations, and individuals affected by appearance-related concerns.  You can access the podcast via iTunes or SoundCloud. Please subscribe and leave a review! (Please note that Soundcloud does not support IE9. Users may wish to try Chrome, Firefox, or a recent version of IE).



Impact of visible differences on intimacy: the role of health professionals

Nick Sharratt is a member of the team at the Centre for Appearance Research at UWE and is carrying out research towards his PhD. Nick is looking at the impact of appearance altering conditions and visible differences upon intimacy and intimate relationships. Nick has interviewed a number of people with a variety of visible differences and it currently analysing this data. He hopes to use the findings to develop a measurement scale so that people with a visible difference who are struggling with this area of their life may be readily identified. Nick has written a short article for the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing where he discusses visible difference and intimacy within the context of a healthcare setting and patient interaction with healthcare professionals. This can be accessed here: http://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/10.12968/joan.2015.4.9.449

In the future we hope to be able to tell you a little about Nick’s own research findings.

  Nick Sharratt


Optimising appearance-related psychosocial care in European settings

Members of the UWE team wrote an article about optimising appearance-related psychosocial care in European settings published in the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing. The article describes two European projects – Face Value and When Looks…

The article can be downloaded below and pleast visit the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing website.            


Gaskin E, Persson M, Williamson H. Optimising appearance-related psychosocial care in European settings. Journal of Aesthetic Nursing. 2015;4(8):394-6.


Annual General Meeting of the Association ALA

On October 10, 2015 in Plovdiv was held the Annual General Meeting of the Association ALA. In front of about 50 people, medical professionals, parents and patients, members of the Association Janа Angelova presented the project Face Value, Erasmus +. The participants were acquainted with the objectives of the project activities and its stage of development.

It was clearly stated that to achieve the objectives of the project the dissemination of the information and of the end product of the project - the training resources and its incorporation of the educational process is crucial. All the participants' representatives of the main stakeholders were invited to assist in this process.




Meeting in Istanbul

The third meeting for Face Value took place at Marmara University Pendik Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey, 16 - 17 September 2015.  The main focus of the meeting was for Prof Nichola Rumsey and Dr Martin Persson from UWE to deliver the draft version of full day training package.  The partners provided feedback and suggested modifications to the 1st version of the developed material.  Overall, the feedback was positive and everybody agrees this can be a very good training material.




Turkish National Strategic Advisory Group

The Turkish National Strategic Advisory Group is represented by the Pediatric Rehabilitation Working Group (PRWG). Founded in 2005 and it is one of 15 specialty groups that make up the Turkish Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The aim of working group is to support physicians by creating programs that assist doctors in staying current in their field and improve their practice. Also PRWG tries to maximize the abilities of each child while minimizing the effects of their impairments and to help patients by providing information about their rehabilitation process.




Interesting reading

Read the reports and other material generated so far in the project on our resource page

Posters and Flyers

The Posters and Flyers are now available to be downloaded from the resource page on this website.



Face Value - Riga

The second meeting for Face Value took place at Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia on the Tuesday 12th of May, 2015. The partners - Associatcia licevi anomalii, Faculty of Medicine University of Nis, Marmara University Pendik Hospital and Riga Stradins University, Institute of Stomatology – presented their National reports and their findings from their interviews.




The European Cleft Organisation presented their report about the psychosocial issues relating to disfigurement from the perspective of a European NGO, while University West of England presented their theoretical paper about the psychological and social aspects of disfigurement.  The session was ended by Rogland skole og bedriftsutviklingsforening presented their pedagogical report on learning outcomes for occupational standards in relation to the European Qualification Framework.




At the meeting, the development of the training course was discussed and that the first draft version for meeting in Istanbul in September will be presented. All the partners agreed upon the suggestion for the different modules in the training course.


The Hague Online

The Face Value project and kickoff meeting was reported on in the Hague Online magazine on the 3rd of November 2014.






Kickoff meeting

The Face Value kickoff meeting was held in Hague, the Netherlands on the 6th of November 2014. The partners introduced themselves and gave a brief background about themselves and their organization. Martin Persson and Nichola Rumsey presented an overall project overview with the specific objectives together with key deliverables. In a collaborative way, the partners agreed upon the specific objectives that need to be achieved until the next meeting. Then an overview of the management and quality assurance aspects, which included the following:  a) Cooperation agreement b) Time reporting c) Financial rules. The meeting ended with a general discussions about the project and deciding the dates and venues for the next two meetings.