Thika Level 5 Hospital management has asserted its support for palliative care integration in the day to day health care provision.

Speaking to health care workers during a recent introduction to palliative care training at the hospital, the Medical Superintendent Dr Patrick Nyaga said he is amused that part of the hospital staff has passion for palliative care.

Dr Nyaga said that if there is anyone who does not agree that at one point in life they will exit, they are living in denial.

“Whether through a terminal illness or an accident, we all wish it occurs as painless as possible. Let us try and make it as painless and comfortable as possible for our patients with life threatening illnesses,” said Dr Nyaga.

He said that trends are showing a decrease in communicable diseases and an increase in Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and was concerned with the high fraction of diabetes taking toll on the Kenyan population.

“We have to start preparing now and equip our staff with knowledge and infrastructure such that when the time comes, we are able to address the situation adequately,” said Dr Nyaga.

He said that training individuals is very critical. “We have to start arming ourselves from the basics to the real situation such that when the time comes, the situation finds us ready. I am proud of you for taking this first step,” he told the trainees.

The medical superintendent asked Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) to continue with such trainings as this will enable patients with life threatening illnesses receive the deserved care across the country.

“We have committed ourselves to make a full fledged palliative care department in the next two years. We have earmarked a building where training will be done and drawn a palliative care budget line,” said Dr Nyaga.

According to Dr Nyaga, the people sitting in the palliative care department at the hospital will be leaders in the next 10 years as focus shifts to palliative care following the increasing incidences on NCDs.

“I hope that you will start manufacturing what you have learnt this week by putting it into practice,” said Dr Nyaga.

Dr Nyaga was proud to be part of the palliative care team and urged those who are already providing palliative care at the hospital to disturb his team so that the management push their issues through possible avenues in an effort to ensure that the team receives necessary support.

Dr Patrick Mburugu, a pediatrician and Consultant Urological Surgeon urged the health care workers not to forget the young ones in palliative care.

“We are struggling to make pediatric HIV be recognised as that of the adults and for palliative care, we do not want to lag behind. We need to promote pediatric palliative care to ensure that children are not forgotten,” said Dr Mburugu.

He told the health care workers that pediatric palliative care is not different from adult palliative care and all they needed to remember is a bit on the dosages adding that the field is an interesting one as children will never lie on how they are feeling.

Dr Mburugu said that in 10years time, palliative care will be the in-thing and such training is of great help to the health care workers.

KEHPCA Executive Director Dr Zipporah Ali promised the trainees that the association will work harder to mentor them to become tutors.

“Be champions and advocates besides being service providers in your area of work,” said Dr Ali.

Quotes from the participants;

‘I have been running away from breaking bad news but thanks to the training, I can now comfortably break bad news,’ Kinyua Lena, Clinical Officer I.

‘As I walked into this room the first day, I barely knew what palliative care was but I can proudly say that the knowledge I have received has enabled me to be a skilled palliative care provider,’ Erick Mogaka, Counselor at Thika Hospice.

“The training has opened a whole new dimension on how I look at my patients with palliative care needs and with the knowledge, I promise to make patients live a comfortable life till nature takes its course,” Gilbert Nthambiri, Clinical Medicine Student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

‘As a clinician, the best way to manage my patient is by using a holistic approach. Family members are very essential when it comes to achieving the goal of providing the best palliative care to a patient. Palliative care can be offered anywhere, anytime, any day and by any person,’ Salome Ndeto, Clinician Officer Intern.

‘I have known that these patients undergo a lot of pain, both physical and psychological. Knowing how to manage this pain is an important aspect in the management of these patients.’ Martha Kamau.

‘Before training, I thought prescribing morphine would make the patients addictive but the training has enlightened me a lot.’ Jane Kawira, Snr. Physiotherapist

‘I have learnt how to asses and manage pain since I have been seeing patients groan in pain and had nothing to do but as from today, I fee empowered to relief my patients’ pain,’ Zipporah Gakuru, Nurse.

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