The Palliative Care Support Trust (PCST) in Malawi this year trained 196 church leaders on how to use the ‘Inspiring Hope Handbook’. The handbook is a resource that was developed to support the delivery of palliative care services in communities by the churches.
The Inspiring Hope Handbook was written and produced by Dr Jane Bates with financial support from EMMS International. Dr Bates is a palliative care physician based at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. She is a founding Board Chairperson of the Trustees of PCST.
Church leaders were specifically targeted for this training as they tend to care for their congregation when sick. Empowerment in regards to palliative care was identified as a gap to be addressed through training.
The training focused on defining palliative care to the church leaders. The leaders were enlightened to the expected roles of the church to patients facing an inevitable death. The concepts of pain management, spiritual care and psychosocial responsibility of the church in the community was well explained.
The training was concluded by allowing the church leaders to produce work plans for their churches in groups. The work plans were in regards to practical aspects of the care to the sick among their congregation.
During the training, one of the participants commented: “It is good that we are trained on how to use this handbook. Now I realise my role as a religious leader in caring for someone… It is an eye opener that we, as religious leaders, can help palliative care patients by providing physical, psychosocial and spiritual support.”
Read more on the Africa edition of ehospice.