One Tuesday morning, Nairobi Hospice clinical team received a call from a Community Health Volunteer (CHV) to review a patient with advanced cancer and in a lot of pain. The patient was too weak to visit our facility and the team quickly organized for a home visit. When the team arrived, they found the patient in bed and groaning in pain. They assessed her pain and started her on oral morphine, a pain killer used to manage severe pain. When her pain was significantly controlled, the patient was able to sit up and take some breakfast.
During the interaction with the patient, the team learned that she was already raising a 3-month-old baby, despite her advanced disease condition. Her parents and husband are supportive but do not have the finances to provide basic supplies including food. When the Hospice team examined the baby, he was already emaciated since he was not able to breastfeed and was being introduced to other feeds before the recommended weaning age. The family could not afford to buy the commercial milk replacement for the baby.
Before her death, the patient requested the Nairobi Hospice team and her family to support her son. Nairobi Hospice team has mobilized required resources from friends and partners to support the family with the required milk replacement to feed the baby. The family has received overwhelming support for both milk and other items including diapers. Neighbors and friends have also taken the responsibility for taking the child to the clinic for immunization and other medical follow up.
The baby has improved greatly and is gaining weight. The baby’s father, grandparents, and Nairobi Hospice team are overwhelmed by the support received so far to support this baby, indeed you are all angels on earth.
Your support has reminded us that palliative care goes beyond patient and medical care. Bereavement and community support are key in ensuring that those affected get comprehensive care.
Palliative care is everyone’s business.