‘Better late than never’ is a phrase that is popularly used to encourage one in despair. One would ask why Kiambu hospital has never begun a Palliative Care unit, the right answer would be ‘let us exercise patience despite the situation and put effort in instilling positive talk that will encourage the birth of a Palliative Care unit in Kiambu Level Four hospital – Kiambu County.

Recently, Thika Level Five Palliative Care Unit team in collaboration with Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) team and Ann Nyambura from the Kiambu County; Ministry of Health Communications office held a meeting with Dr. Ochieng – Deputy Medical Superintendent and  Margaret – Deputy Nursing Manager, Kiambu hospital to deliberate on ways of integrating Palliative Care in Kiambu Level Four Hospital. The hospital has identified Sheila Munene a palliative care  champion who will spearhead the integration process and have allocated a room  at the outpatient department where patients will be attended to by the Palliative Care givers; a step that indicates hope for Kiambu Level Four hospital soon running a Palliative Care unit.

Out of three trained nurses, Sheila Munene is the only Palliative Care trained nurse in Kiambu hospital considering others retired from the profession years back. “I am hoping that through the help of Thika Level Five Palliative Care team of nurses and KEHPCA team, we will manage to begin the initiative this year.” said Sheila.

Edith, a Palliative Care nurse from Thika Level Five hospital shared her experiences with patients and their families ; an essential part for the Kiambu team to borrow from despite the different challenges faced by different institutions. Thika Level Five team promised to mentor the upcoming Kiambu team by training approximately 15 medical professionals and making follow ups to ensure they gain confidence in providing the services. The hospital has pledged to cater for the training expenses to ensure that their team will be fully equipped to start off the services.

“Palliative Care needs trained personnel, available resources and a policy to guide the team in carrying out their duties,” David Musyoki (Senior Programs Officer, KEHPCA) advised. Palliative Care givers should be passionate on their job and practice a lot of patience since many of the patient requires a lot of understanding and a listening ear. When suffering from cancer for example, a patient needs someone to walk through with them, offer psychological help and above all love.

Kiambu hospital team hopes to soon help transform the lives of the patients holistically especially those who visit the hospital and the ones referred to them from other hospitals. KEHPCA and Thika Level five hospital Palliative Care unit nurses promised to walk with the Kiambu team through the journey if called upon. It is never too late to commence the journey…asaph

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