Chaplains and others in North America tend to be out of touch with what is going on in spiritual care and palliative care in other parts of the world. And there is a LOT. One way for those who are interested in what is going on elsewhere to be in touch is to register with the Palliative Care Network Community.
The Palliative Care Network Community’s mission is “Palliative Care for Everyone, Everywhere” in order to provide a free platform to empower palliative care professionals to teach, interact, and exchange ideas with fellow colleagues globally to promote collaboration and an exchange of knowledge.
This is an international network attempting to involve palliative care professionals around the world. One of their efforts is to mount a lecture series every year. The lecture series is also free and is comprised of a series of Power Points with embedded audio that can be accessed at any time. Registration and access is free and can be found on the website of the Palliative Care Network Community.
This year the lecture series is split into two sections.
The first section: Models of Care and Strategies to Provide Early Palliative Care presents models from all over the world- South America, Middle East, Africa, India, Australia and Eastern Europe.
The diversity of programs between settings like the UAE and rural India is jarring and reminds us of how poorly distributed health care resources are around the world and how many providers operate with a level of resources far below what we in North America can even imagine. Some of these are worth watching just to give us caution next time we are tempted to complain about how under staffed we are.
The second section: Components of Palliative Care Delivery and Outcome Measures includes a number of US presenters including this author who will be familiar to many. However, before you pass over this section entirely, there are gems including Suresh Kumar’s talk on the public health model he has implemented in India. Again, the obstacles here are beyond what any US practitioner will ever have to cope with.
This offering is a must see for anyone interested in how health care is being run around the world and the barriers that many others have to cope with. The distinctions are jarring. However, there are also significant similarities including the seemingly universal problem of getting providers and patients alike to understand what palliative care is and is not. Apparently, people in rural India and Kenya have the same misunderstandings about palliative care as people in Chicago.
As to spiritual care, as expected it is largely absent. The issue in most of the world is relieving physical pain for people who have no other medical care and “chaplaincy” is unknown. However, it pops up in some unexpected places- like the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A final caution. This series is produced with few resources and that often shows. Everyone who contributed did so for free and likely did their talks, including the audio, on their lap tops. So the sites and the presentations can take some effort to navigate. But get past that and focus on the wisdom and the dedication of many of these presenters who are out there providing palliative care in some pretty trying circumstances.
The Rev. George Handzo MDiv CSSBB is a board certified chaplain, and President, Handzo Consulting. He is also Senior Consultant for Chaplaincy Care Leadership and Practice at HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. George is a past president of the Association of Professional Chaplains.
This content is made available by HealthCare Chaplaincy, the publisher of PlainViews®, the online professional journal for chaplains and other spiritual care providers and reproduced with kind permission. Information about PlainViews, including subscriptions, can be found at http://plainviews.healthcarechaplaincy.org. Information about HealthCare Chaplaincy, an international leader in the research, education, and practice of spiritual care and palliative care, can be found at http://www.healthcarechaplaincy.org.