Thika level 5 is a government hospital that has integrated palliative care in its services since September 2012. According to Edith Mwihaki a Kenya Registered Palliative Care nurse, the palliative care unit attends to an average of five patients daily. Since May 2017 KEHPCA has facilitated the training on pain management for more than 200 health professionals in Thika level 5 Hospital. The training is conducted by health care workers at the hospital. Rewarding with palliative care certificates at the end of the training motivates health professionals to enroll in the training.
Through a power point presentation by Edith Mwihaki, she first elaborated on the various types of pain which are physical, psychological, spiritual and social. Secondly, she explained the different techniques of measuring pain. The participants were given a Slap bracelet that has the visual analog pain scale as well as the Wong-Baker Faces scale for children which helps in pain assessment. On this, she insisted that the patient should be given the first priority to describe their pain. “Most of the time, health practitioners ignore a child who can speak and concentrate on finding out how the child is feeling from the parent or caretaker”. Thirdly she described various non-pharmacological (treatment that does not involve medicine) therapies. These include dance, music, acupuncture, herbs, and massage therapies among others.
A visit by KEHPCA representatives to the office of Medical Superintendent was graced by the deputy Dr. Jackline Wangeci who cheerfully stated that the hospital is becoming a pain-free facility. KEHPCA appreciated her for the opportunities and support given by the facility to carry out various activities like research and training. Catherine Mwihia the Nursing Service Manager was also happy with KEHPCA’s visit and appreciated them for their advocacy of pain-free facilities.
The hospital shares monthly reports with KEHPCA and Ministry of Health that includes opioid consumption. According to Dr. Bevin, one of the pharmacists, there has been a noticeable positive change in the prescription of oral morphine for patients accessing healthcare at Thika Level Five hospital.
As the palliative care unit continues with the Pain-Free Hospital Initiative in Thika, it is evident that this training has been of benefit to both healthcare workers and patients. “Hawa