“Knowledge is power” the wise man said. A lay man would wonder what palliative care means not knowing at some point in life he/she would need the care directly or indirectly if a family member, herself or himself suffered from a life threatening illness.
The interactive session facilitated by Dr. Asaph Kinyanjui (Director of Programmes) and David Musyoki (Senior Program Officer) from KEHPCA, took the participants through the topics on concepts of palliative care and pain, pathophysiology and assessment of pain, pain management and barriers to pain management among others. “Always remember that the patient needs a lot of love from you as the care giver, do not ignore the patient” Dr. Asaph Kinyanjui cautioned. Love is the greatest commanded that was given to us by God but how many of us are ready to practice the act of Love? “Palliative care being everyone’s business calls for team work from caregivers and family members to avoid going through psychological distress” Musyoki reminded the participants before the meeting was adjourned.
Later, KEHPCA team and representatives from various departments, held a brief meeting to evaluate the current situation of palliative care and its future. Margaret Kiarie the director of nursing services at PCEA Kikuyu hospital gave a promising blueprint about the future of Kikuyu hospital palliative care unit. “Kikuyu Hospital has a dream to make palliative care a huge department but our main problem has been lack of resources to make our dream a reality” says Margaret Kiarie. Despite the challenge, the hospital has tried to help the few who seek for assistance.
PCEA Kikuyu Palliative Care unit statistics showed that only 269 patients were attended to from January to December 2015, this calls for action to be taken on proper sensitization on the importance of palliative care to ailing patients, families and medical practitioners.“ Our greatest challenge has been dealing with the patients who expect to be financed by the hospital for medication and medical services like chemotherapy and radiotherapy that are quite expensive” says Jane Kago, the palliative care nurse.
The media has played a great role in advocacy of palliative care services to the public by giving airtime to Kikuyu hospital palliative care unit to run an interactive talk show every Tuesday at Inooro TV and radio, medical camps and community walks among other noble courses. Step by step the hospital management hopes to see light at the end of the tunnel in elevating Palliative Care services in Kikuyu hospital.
KEHPCA plans to continue with such initiatives to enable the health care providers gain knowledge and skills on holistic Palliative Care approach a strategy that will improve the quality of life for both the patients and their families.