When Palliative Care Assistants (PCA) enter into the homes of members in their own community, they become a symbol of compassion, knowledge and care. Working on the frontlines of patient recruitment and care in Narayanganj, Bangladesh, PCAs bridge between health related suffering and community-based health services that provide palliative care services. This approach requires extensive training.
In May, the project staff conducted a workshop to explore how the community perceived the PCAs in terms of their reliability. The workshop sought to answer the following questions:
- How much do the PCAs know about palliative care?
- What do they say to the patients around the kind of services they provide?
- What do they say to the family members of the patients around the services they provide?
- What kind of input do PCAs have around the development of the project?
- Are the PCAs exhibiting an inspirational team spirit.
A key part of the training included role playing. In one instance, a PCA pretended to provide an informational leaflet to a tea seller who was unaware of the project’s services. The PCA then proceeded to explain the project in plain language in such a way that would lead to clear understanding of the tea seller’s role as a partner in identifying patients suffering from life limiting diseases.
In another instance, the PCAs role played their active engagement with patients and family members. Some of their reenacted tasks included wound dressing, measuring blood pressure or blood sugar, listening to patient’s needs and thoughts and passing those notes along to a coordinator or nurse for additional support, when needed.
To learn more about the project and the Palliative Care Assistant service model, visit: https://narayanganjpalliativecare.com/
“Compassionate Narayanganj” is a pilot project which includes a unique collaboration between Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Worldwide Hospice & Palliative Care Alliances (WHPCA) and Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) to ensuring that Palliative Care is available throughout the country. This project is funded by UKAid.
Mr. Shafiquejjaman Saikot, the Compassionate Narayanganj project research assistant, contributed to this article.