In October 2016 the world celebrated the Day of palliative and hospice care. In Ukraine, many organisations conducted discussions in the “round table” format to exchange experiences and find new solutions and once again to remind the public: in Ukraine there are at least 0.5 million seriously ill citizens who are in a great need of help at the end of their earthly journey.
They are not only elderly people but also children suffering from genetic, neurological, oncological diseases. These people as well as their relatives and parents need not only medical but also social and psychological as well as spiritual support. The main goal of palliative and hospice care – to reduce pain and suffering, to allow people and members of their family to end their lives with dignity and with the best possible quality of life.
Better pain control now available
At the beginning of our work in 2006 in Ukraine people almost never talked about this issue, the question of adequate pain management was not resolved and patients experienced severe physical suffering (just injections of morphine were available with many restrictions), and the state did not pay attention to this issue. After 10 years the situation has changed for the better. Significantly liberalised regulatory framework on the use of pain medications; oral and other forms of morphine; systematic training and education; new homes for the terminally ill, etc – are the physical results of activities.
What was done by the Association of Palliative and Hospice care in 2016?
- Trainings (mostly three-day) on the issue of rights of seriously ill children in Uzhhorod, Dnieper, Kirovograd, Sumy, Lviv, Pereyaslaw-Khmelnytski, Melitopol, Kiev, and other towns and cities which were attended by about 170 civic leaders and activists as well as managers of the system of health and social care.
- Series of lectures to paramedics from village health centres and family doctors in the Rivne region (over 150 participants).
- Organised educational visits to hospices, health / social care providers and charities in Poland, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Belgium, which were attended by 50 health professionals.
- In cooperation with the Department of Palliative and Hospice medtsyny National Medical Academy PLShupyk developed a programme cycle of thematic improvement “organisational, social, psychological and legal aspects of hospice and palliative medicine” which will be adopted in 2017.
- Continuing cooperation with the Department of Palliative and Hospice Medicine of the National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education the training of nurses continues. All courses are conducted with the use of new Internet technologies, and in 2016 were completed by around 150 nurses.
- Also, in cooperation with the National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education the training of young scientists on the project management and fundraising for research was launched.
- Head of the Association of Palliative and Hospice Care Alexander Wolf in 2016 joined the international editorial board of the journal «Social-Health Spectrum» and the Scientific Council of Krakow hospice for children.
- Association has developed and published “Report on the rights of seriously ill children” (Kyiv, publisher: “Talkom”, 100 pages).
- Conducted and published in electronic media research on legislative activity of the Ukrainian Parliament Verkhovna Rada on issues of social policy and social protection.
- The Facebook Group of our Association has nearly 1,000 people. More than 400 posts on topics related to the development of palliative and hospice care in Ukraine were published and shared on our social networks.
- We held 3 radio interviews and published 45 publications in the media.
- We plan on opening a new office of the Association in the Chernihiv region and the establishment of training centres for palliative and hospice care in Lviv and Kiev are planned.
- We have received 4350, and sent 6590 emails.
- We received and processed 112 complaints from people with serious illnesses and their relatives from different regions of Ukraine.
- In cooperation with the district centre of social services in Pechersk district of Kyiv we continue to implement an innovative project of palliative care at home.
- In cooperation with the National children hospital in Kyiv we continue the development of clinical (hospital) social work as the new innovative direction of social work in Ukraine. The head of Association Alexander Wolf is the clinical social worker in mentioned hospital.
We thank all our partners and friends who have been with us in this year and who helped us to achieve our successes.