Thai national palliative care project looks back on three years of achievement and learning

Categories: Education.

This conference was hosted and supported by Thai Palliative Care Society (THAPS) and National Health Promotion Foundation. The main goal was to summarise the three-year project, including its seven sub-projects, aimed at raising palliative care awareness in the country.

Good Death Awareness Advocacy Project

The project aimed to build palliative care capacity among various NGO networks and policy makers, and through multiple events such as death awareness workshops or card games. Thanks to these activities, people are now more aware of palliative care than before the start of the project.

Pal2Know Project

The Pal2Know Project consisted of eight panel discussions on common topics in palliative care such as Advance Care Planning and Spiritual assessment among others. The project also produced eight books on palliative care which have been distributed nationwide free of charge.

Healthcare Networking Capacity Building

This project aimed to improve access to palliative community care and community nurse training programmes. It has resulted in a 100% connected network in Northeast region of Thailand. Future plans include further expanding the network throughout other regions in the country.

Training Programes

THAPS conducted a Training of Trainers (TOT) course in Education in Palliative and End-of-life Care (EPEC), and training courses for nurses and doctors.

THAPS currently has capacity to train healthcare providers to basic and intermediate level of palliative care. Advanced level courses, such as fellowship training and a diploma programme are now under revision and will launch within the next few years.

Volunteers and carers

There have been several achievements from the national sub-project for volunteers and carers. These include: initiating of palliative care services across the country, development of palliative care handbooks and clinical practice guidelines, research and dissertation database, and training programmes for healthcare providers, carers and volunteers.

Support from national institutions

Dr Chuchai Ponchamni, Vice Secretary of the Thai National Health Security Office (NHSO) announced the organisation’s policy for 2017, saying that: “NHSO will increase the financial support for palliative care services so that patients and family can receive multidisciplinary, integrated care and could spend their time with good quality of life, pain free, among their loved ones at home.

“In order to achieve this, we need to improve collaborations between healthcare teams, volunteers and community leaders so that patients and family could have three goods: good life, good death, and good grief.”

Palliative Care in Thailand is now categorised as level 3a, according to the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life, and the service is provided in isolated facilities. There are also several challenges, especially in terms of opioid access for pain relief, needs of education programmes for healthcare providers, and networking. The government aims to improve the service into level 3b within the next few years.

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