The International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) has released a video interview with Joan Marston, CEO of PALCHASE where she talks about meeting the palliative care needs of refugees and displaced persons.
In the video interview, Joan Marston, founding member and co-Chair of PALCHASE (Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situations) describes how the organisation was created by a group of people who understood that if palliative care is a human right, it needs to be available for everyone. The founders realised there was a huge number of people living in humanitarian situations within which there would be people with palliative care needs. At present there are 80 million people who fall within this category of refugees and displaced persons.
Joan explains that PALCHASE is looking to tell the individual stories of people who have accessed palliative care and the lessons that can be learned from their stories.
She says, “We can be overwhelmed by the numbers we hear, but we need to hear the personal stories of these people and of the difference palliative care has made in the life of the person and family.”
Joan goes on to acknowledge that there are a limited number of people already providing palliative care and it is unrealistic to expect these people to intervene in humanitarian situations. The needs of these people could be better met if a way could be found to get “primary health response organisations, like Red Cross and Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), to integrate palliative care into their responses.”
Challenges and opportunities
Looking at the challenges, Joan says that palliative care still lacks the acknowledgement, the visibility and the understanding of not only health professionals, but also the general public.
To improve this situation, it would be critical to have palliative care integrated into all undergraduate training of related professions so that when these people qualify they will know how to provide palliative care, how to provide pain management and how to conduct holistic assessments.
Joan suggests that the palliative care community needs to conceive a much better marketing strategy. “We need understanding in the general public before we can get it out there, the way that other disciplines are,” she says.
You can find out more about PALCHASE at https://www.facebook.com/Palchase-388144688202038/