Palliative care is probably the most misunderstood specialty in the entire field of medicine. That’s because for most people, the medical profession is synonymous with saving lives. For patients with life-threatening illnesses, just as important as the gift of life is the right to have a better quality of life until a peaceful, dignified, and pain-free death.
That’s why Soroptimists International Club Kuwait decided to launch a palliative care awareness campaign, in cooperation with Bayt Abdullah, the Kuwait Palliative Care Center (KPCC), and SANAD, the Home Hospice Organization of Lebanon. Soroptimists International is an international club of 80,000 professional and business women creating a network of global volunteers that concentrate on issues concerning the health and wellbeing of women and girls. They focus on action and awareness in five areas: economic empowerment, education and learning, environment, food security and health, and ending violence against women.
Last year, Soroptimists International Club Kuwait sponsored a Thalassemia Awareness Campaign as part of their women’s health issues program. Now they are eager to highlight the wonderful work being done in palliative and hospice care by several organizations.
The Kuwait Palliative Care Center (KPCC) offers patients and their families a comprehensive support system. A tightly-knit, multidisciplinary team works to address all aspects of their situation: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual.
As Palliative Medicine Consultant Dr Ameena Al Ansari explains, “At KPCC we are able to provide a better quality of life, and comfort for the patient and the family, which is unique to palliative care. We treat patients as individuals, following a management plant that was specially tailored for them and that helps them live as actively as possible until death.”
KPPC is the only free-standing palliative care facility in the Arabian Gulf, and with 92 beds, it is the largest in the world. Currently, however, only four wards with seven private rooms in each ward are in service, thus providing 28 available beds. Lack of sufficient specialized medical staff is one of the reasons that more wards are not yet in operation and that only cancer patients are admitted at this time. A palliative care treatment plan for non-cancer patients in other facilities can be drawn up by the center’s doctors at the request of the patient’s primary care doctor. KPCC treatment is free of charge for all nationalities.
KPCC was officially opened in 2011 in the Al Sabah hospitals complex. In 2016, palliative care was officially designated as a sub-specialty in Kuwait’s Ministry of Health. KPCC works hard to raise awareness among the general public and health care professionals about the enormous benefits of palliative care for patients and their families. It is hoped that Fellowships and more training programs in palliative care can be offered to doctors and other medical staff, so that palliative care services in Kuwait can be expanded. At present, there is no official program for palliative care at home, something which is of great importance as most people want to die at home and most families would like to have their loved ones at home with them.
KPCC contact information:
KPCC telephone: 24917353 ext 2176
SANAD the Home Hospice Organization of Lebanon, offers terminally ill patients comfort care surrounded by loved ones. SANAD is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization established in 2010 to provide home hospice care to terminally ill patients and their families in Lebanon. Their mission is to provide comprehensive home-based hospice care to terminally ill patients while preserving their dignity and enhancing the quality of their remaining life. This support includes medical, social, and psychological support to patients and their family members. These support services are delivered to patients free of charge regardless of their nationality, religion, political affiliation, gender, diagnosis or ability to pay. They include:
• Medical and nursing care through regular home visits
• Managing pain and other distressing symptoms
• Providing medication, medical supplies and equipment
• Providing psychological support for patients and families
• Supporting families with coping with their loss
• Addressing psychological or emotional difficulties
• Assessing families’ social needs and priorities
• Providing social support to ensure a sense of security
• Empowering family members to play an active role in the patient’s care
SANAD’s Advocacy and Outreach Initiatives:
- Technical Consultants for the development of a hospital palliative care program at Rafik Hariri University Hospital (RHUH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and World Health Organization
- Collaborating with Salim El Hoss Bioethics Professionalism Program at AUB on a Joint Volunteer Program for Medical Students. SANAD offers volunteers an opportunity to appreciate the physical, social and psychological dimensions of a terminal illness.
- Supporting MPH Students from AUB throughout their practicum at SANAD
This collaboration with AUB allows students to develop palliative and hospice care research projects.
- Conducting Awareness Raising Sessions and Training
SANAD regularly conducts awareness-raising sessions on palliative and hospice care.
- SANAD’s Children’s Book “الشجر أوراق مثل”
SANAD published a children’s book, targeting the issue of death and loss in a compassionate manner.
- SANAD’s Blog “It’s About Life”
This blog is a platform for contributors with stories,thoughts and feelings to be shared.
- SANAD’s Grief Support Group
Supports families after their loss by creating a space where feelings are shared.
In 2016, 81% of patients received pain relief medication under SANAD’s guidance compared to only 21% beforeadmission. With proper pain management, patients become free to enjoy their days with their families at home. Their dignity is preserved, respected, and honored.
SANAD Contact information:
SANAD telephone: +9611752142 +96171587941