According to the article, a task force on the issue has also found that symptoms are often wrongly diagnosed and there is a shortage of options for advanced pain management.
The piece calls for major improvements in the UAE, as it infers the nation has ‘no chance’ of meeting the World Health Organisation’s global targets of palliative care by 2020 unless significant changes are made.
Nesreen Al Alfi, of Famima College for Health Care Sciences in Abu Dhabi, is quoted in the article saying: “The challenges are huge. Even when the language and culture barriers are down I still see defects in caring for these patients because of a lack of training and structured programmes in palliative care.”
“Another hindrance here in the UAE is the legal system. There are no approved policies for ‘do not resuscitate’ or ‘allow natural death’. Not intervening acutely and aggressively, even when intervention is not advised or proven to be medically futile, can be punished by law.”
Dr Stephen Connor, executive director at the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, comments: “During our last ‘mapping levels of palliative care development’ exercise we categorised the UAE as a level 3a country.
This category means there is some palliative care being delivered, but it’s at an early stage and not widely available in the country or integrated into the healthcare system.
“I don’t think it’s realistic for all countries to have palliative care services by 2020; the best way to change attitudes and minds is by showing the value of palliative care.
Once physicians and leaders see how improved care is with palliative care, as well as hearing from families sharing their appreciation for the services, these people are often then won over.”
Vital in the education process, Dr Connor says, is dispelling the myths around the use of opioids and addiction fear in the UAE.
“Addiction or substance use disorders are a psychological illness. When patients are in pain and an opioid is used, that person doesn’t experience a high from the opioid, they just experience pain relief. We rarely see addictive behaviour in our patients.
“Each of these points comes down to training and every health professional should have a basic knowledge of palliative care. That includes physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists and religious people.
It should initially be taught in schools and those who decide to specialise in palliative care will need further training. In any modern health care system, palliative care is considered part of the continuum of care.”
The Care2Save Charitable Trust has launched an ambitious initiative to raise money to transform palliative and hospice care around the world. For a donation of as little as £1 people will be entered into a prize draw to win a Bentley Continental GT V8.
Bentley enthusiasts can donate slightly more in return for sought after Bentley items such as model cars, stylish pens and even a factory tour!
Through the Bentley by Me campaign and the generous support of people around the globe, Care2Save will be able to drastically improve palliative care for those who are in desperate need of it.
By working with organisations and charities overseas to educate and empower them, Care2Save will help them build their own sustainable and affordable hospice and palliative care models.
Andrea Ladeira, founder and CEO of the Care2Save Charitable Trust comments: “In the UK, we’re fortunate to have the best palliative care in the world – but this is very rare.
“Even here, our hospices need to raise an average of £9,000 per day to remain open, with just 32% of funding for hospices coming from the government. We always need to do more.
“Globally, each year 40 million people of all ages will need palliative care – but 34.4 million won’t receive the care they need. The Care2Save Trust and Bentley Motors have teamed up because we want to address this global issue and make a significant impact on the lives of thousands of people in need of help.”
You can visit the Care2Save website to find out more about the Bentley by Me campaign.
Hospices can take part in the campaign to raise money directly too. For more information visit the website.