The Western Cape, said Jenkins, had several metropolitan hospital-based palliative care services, providing an exceptional service to patients. But there was very little other comprehensive end-of-life care existing in the province – especially for people in rural areas.
“Most patients in rural areas who face problems associated with life-threatening illnesses don’t have proper access to palliative care services that can improve their quality of life as well as that of their families,” said Jenkins.
In addressing the shortcoming, Jenkins and his fellow researchers have developed a palliative care model that has been shared with the rural districts and the chief director for rural health in the province.
As part of the study, a multi-professional team consisting of a palliative care-trained family medicine doctor, medical officer, physiotherapist, psychologist and social worker was formed to improve communication between George Regional Hospital and the sub-district.
“The fact that a multi-professional team listened and planned together at the patient’s bedside has restored some of the dignity and ethos of patient-centred care, which is a core principle of the provincial health care 2030 vision.
“There’s a greater appreciation for how the patient experiences the illness, allowing for patient autonomy, fostering respect and caring with competence and empathy.
“Establishing regular multi-professional palliative care ward rounds has changed the way patients needing palliative care are managed, particularly in challenging the mindsets of specialist departments,” he said.
The experts have developed a palliative care plan as a standardised tool for the hospital and sub-district, which is shared with patients and regularly updated.
“We also developed an electronic booklet of local community resources involved in the care of terminally ill people for staff and patients to refer to.
“The team keeps a database of palliative patients in the area, ensuring patients are not lost in the system and building a profile of local palliative care needs,” said Jenkins.
The team keeps a database of palliative patients in the area
Religious leaders of the Israeli Ethiopian community take part in a ceremony marking the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd in Jerusalem yesterday.