The ongoing theme of the discussion is ‘Spirituality’. As spirituality can be seen as one of the most abstract and challenging issues in palliative care, Pal2Know, one of the projects supported by Thai Palliative Care Society (THAPS) and Thai Health Promotion Foundation, conducted a panel discussion among those who work in this area.
The panel is held quarterly and addresses a different topic each time. The most recent panel was about breaking bad news.
In conjunction with the latest national health policy sector 2.5, the aim of this project is to raise palliative care public awareness, and knowledge in both healthcare providers and general population.
Since palliative care services in Thailand are still in the early stages, most institutes have isolated care and protocols of their own. Therefore, this meeting also acts as a bridge that connects people, creating alliances to give a better care for the patients.
“It is good to be here!” said one of the nurses who joined the panel. “I never knew that there are many people who work in this field. It also gives me a lot of strength and courage, knowing that I’m not alone.”
“Each individual is different,” said a senior nurse and lecturer. “The important thing about a patient’s spirituality is not whether we could measure the numbers or scales but rather whether we could reach it or not. It is challenging, very hard even, but it needs to be done.”
“One of the surprising elements in spiritual care is the multitude of effects toward people. We relieve our patient’s spirit but the family – and ourselves – are getting healed as well,” commented a doctor who works as a palliative care specialist.
A monk who worked tirelessly teaching his fellows about giving a proper care for terminal patients also shared his thoughts. He said: “As a monk, I find this meeting very enlightening. As citizens of a Buddhist country, Thai people are very fortunate to have integrated spiritual care in our daily life.
“However, we still have a long road ahead of us, raising awareness in monks and the general population. It is a good start. I will continue my teaching and try to spread the knowledge for this cause.”
There is a plan for the contents of the two day panel discussion to be extracted and published as a reference book for healthcare providers and volunteers nationwide. Following this publication, the next panel, with the theme of: ‘Healing the Healers’ will be held in February.
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