Mwenda pole hajikwai (He who moves slowly does not stumble) said the wise men.
Kerugoya District hospital located in Kirinyaga County is one of the facilities identified by the Ministry of Health to integrate palliative care services.
“I have learnt that pain is the fifth vital sign”
The county has also attested to the need of these services in the region due to the big burden of life threatening illnesses including cancer, diabetes, HIV among others. For these two reasons, the hospital identified a team of healthcare workers with interest and training in palliative care to spear head setting up of these services at the county hospital.
“You have an important role in establishing palliative care services,” said Mr. Mutemi representing the county director of health. “We will also need to roll out these services to the sub county facilities so that patients in those sites benefit and reduce unnecessary referrals. This was said during a
pain management workshop organized by Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) held at the Kerugoya District Hospital in December 2015.
‘Knowledge is power’ and the team noted that the hospital staff needed to be enlightened on pain management as it has been a common presenting complaint by patients with palliative care needs.
Participants were drawn from various departments within the hospital including doctors, nurses, clinical officers and pharmacists. They were taken through the following topics: concepts of palliative care and pain, pathophysiology and assessment of pain, pain management and barriers to pain management by Dr. Muinga. Participants also did a pre and post test so as to gauge their knowledge. Marked improvement was noted at the end of the workshop. The pretest saw the lowest score being 12% and 78% being the highest score with most participants scoring between 51-60%. The post test had a lowest score of 48% and the highest at 92% with most scoring between 61-70%.
Apart from the teaching, they also received Beating Pain books and pain bracelets to aid in their pain assessment and management.
There was positive feedback from participants who noted that the training was timely.
One of the nurses exclaimed that she did not know there is a lot she could do to improve the patients comfort when in pain.
Most seemed unsure about use of opioids for pain management even though the hospital pharmacy does stock oral morphine.
“I have learnt that pain is the fifth vital sign”, said a clinician who attended the pain workshop.
KEHPCA plans to continue with such initiatives to enable the health care providers gain knowledge and skills on pain management which will eventually make patients live comfortably and with dignity.