ehospice looks ahead to the APCA/HPCA conference

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Here at ehospice, we are looking forward to the upcoming APCA/HPCA conference. We are particularly looking forward to meeting up with the impressive range of palliative care workers who are coming from across the world.

To help our readers get to know some of the participants at the conference, we thought we would ask some of the participants to answer a few short questions about themselves. This week we have answers from Luzibo William, a Social Worker Volunteer in Holy Cross Hospice based in Gaborone, Botswana.

  • What is your name and current profession?

My name is Luzibo William, I am currently working as a Social Worker Volunteer in Holy Cross Hospice based in Gaborone, Botswana.

  • What are many challenges in your home country to securing universal access to palliative care?

* Services are centralized in urban areas hence they do not reach people in villages or rural ares and thus there is unequal access, a majority of people in rural areas do not know anything about palliative care because of lack of resources.

* A lot of people still prefer to care for their patients or loved ones at home settings other than hospice homes.

* Limited accessibility to prescription of medication outside hospital setting since more responsibility is given to doctors to prescribe,e.g pethedine, morphine medications are mostly prescribed by doctors in our country.

* Delay to formation of a national association for palliative care in Botswana – palliative care is still behind in Botswana considering the fact that the association has been early launched this year 2013.

* Inadequate psycho-social support, e.g bereavement counselling is inadequate; health professionals are not able to provide the service and health care providers find it difficult to deal with issues of death and dying.

* Insufficient management of pain and other symptoms management due to inadequate training of services providers.

* Inadequate pain relief for the patient at home-sometimes patients are cared by caregivers who are not educated and they can give a patient wrong medication and sometimes the family would not know when the patient need massage to relieve the pain.

* Lack or shortage of health professionals and social workers in Botswana who can be there to provide more knowledge about palliative care and also for them to also acquire more skills and  knowledge about palliative care.

* Inadequate capacity to train for palliative care. In my country there is still shortage of training in palliative care considering the fact that its covered or taught at university and for someone who has never went as far as that cannot know what palliative care training is.

* Increased workload leading to burnout among caregiver. Most of the time I get to see a lot of caregivers lacking family support system when they care for their loved ones which affect them with so many emotional feelings and considering the fact that we still have problems of stigma they end up bottling-up their emotions and problems because they do not know how to get help because sometimes they think they would be judged.

* Attitudes of health professionals towards end of life care. Considering the fact that death is still a taboo in our culture I think that has brought fear in them so just to have to work with patients who are going through end of life for them its hard time.

* Lack of understanding of palliative care among health providers. A lot of health workers still do not understand what palliative care is even though they still work in palliative care organisations. For example I am currently working in a day care center providing palliative care courses but some workers still don’t understand that home visits must be done almost everyday since we have some of our patients who are bed ridden and cannot afford to get to the center because of their critical conditions so they feel like visiting patients everyday its a waste of petrol.

* Inadequate care for carers means that we sometimes do not understand that palliative care involves patient,caregivers at home and even the health workers who work with patients that they are also people with emotions,feelings etc and that they must be involved in counselling sessions or any therapy that can work for them in difficult times.

  • What is the one thing you are looking forward to most at the conference in September? 

Expertise or to gather industry insight and intelligence to grow my personal and organisation brand in order to do our current jobs better and to get to the next level.  

Next week ehospice will have answers from Denise Mortlock, the Director of The Rocking Horse Project in Swaziland. 

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