Palliative Care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illnesses (WHO, 2002). Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) acknowledge the existence of a gap in awareness on Palliative care (2006). As such, huge gaps exist in form of unmet needs for palliative care for those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life threatening diseases. This is despite the fact that HIV/AIDS accounts for 29% of annual adult deaths (Kenya HIV County Profiles, 2016) while cancer kills an estimated 18,000 people annually (KEHPCA, 2013).
Ongata Ngong Palliative Community Care-ONPACC is a community based organisation registered in 2010 by the ministry of gender, children and social development. Service provision at ONPACC focuses on improving quality of life, controlling pain and other distressing symptoms and provision of psychosocial support. Palliative Home Care aims at capacity building the community on basic nursing procedures and palliative care knowledge. This is attained through involvement of the extensive government network of community health workers (CHWs), thus ensuring significant impact at the community level.
The CHWs are trained and their capacity built continuously by professional palliative care givers to enable the CHWs gain appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes on palliative care that will result to quality and holistic services. To compliment this, the organization strengthens the referral and linkage mechanism between the CHWs and relevant primary caregivers to ensure monitoring and standardization of services being given at the community level.
Goals of Palliative Care for Patient and Family:
- Maintain patient choice and dignity for those choosing to remain at homethrough the final stages of life
- Provide state-of-the-art skills in managing symptoms to assure comfortUtilize a holistic approach to care
- Ensure the patient’s freedom to choose more aggressive treatment whilereceiving palliative care
- Provide for treatment of symptoms as desired by the patient
- Provide information for patients and families to assist in preparing advancedhealth care directives
- Provide effective pain management
- Address the psychosocial and spiritual concerns of the patient and family
- Provide support for patients and families, and assist in developing and using effective coping skills
- Provide care consistent with patient’s cultural and spiritual background
Meeting the Needs of Patient and Family:
- Patient case managed by Registered Nurse
- Plan of care developed in collaboration with patient and family
- Palliative Care Team available to meet changing needs of patient and family 24-hour-a-day staff availability
- Provide continuity of care from hospital to home
- Rehabilitation equipments available.