Sep 12, 2012

Rachel House 1st Public Seminar on Palliative Care

Participants at the 1-day workshop
Participants at the 1-day workshop

With a vision that no child should ever have to die in pain without love and care, Rachel House has set itself a seemingly unattainable goal.   

With only a handful of nurses on our team, it was clear to us that as soon as the first team is sufficiently confident in their knowledge of palliative care, we will have to begin sharing the knowledge quickly and widely to ensure more children living with life-threatening conditions can be provided with palliative care.

So, in line with this commitment and holding the vision clearly in mind, Rachel House held its very first public workshop on Palliative Care on 29th August 2012.

The event received an overwhelming response from the medical community, even though it was held the week immediately after the long Eid holiday. A total of 38 doctors and nurses from some of the largest public and private hospitals, and medical teaching institutions in Indonesia attended the 1-day public seminar. 

The 1-day seminar was led by two of the most renowned palliative care experts in the Asia Pacific region, Dr Sue Marsden and Liese Groot-Alberts. Dr Sue Marsden is a Palliative Medicine Specialist whose initial postgraduate medical training was in Radiation Oncology. Liese Groot-Alberts is a grief therapist, well known for her trainings in trauma, loss, grief and bereavement. Both Sue and Liese had been part of the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Organisation facilitating team for Australasia.  

It is an exciting time for palliative care in Indonesia - the momentum we have been waiting for is now here. It is our sincere hope that through these learning and sharing sessions, more children will benefit from improved quality of life in their courageous battles against illnesses.

Please visit our blog ( for more information on the event. 


Jul 30, 2012

Postcard: Project Site Visit

Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Indonesia:

On July 24, I accompanied Rachel House on a home visit to one of its patients – a 7-year-old boy who has leukemia and relapsed just before he was supposed to start the new school year. 

After visiting Rachel House’s office to meet the staff and nurses, we were off to the young patient’s grandmother’s home where he and his mother stay.  They stay here so that he can be closer to treatment and support.  The mother and grandmother welcomed us with warm, sincere smiles. The patient had been improving until recently.

When we arrived, the nurse discussed the patient’s symptoms with the mom, brought him a new backpack since he was hoping to return to school, and consulted the mother on his oral chemotherapy. Because some families do not know how to access Indonesia's free health care, the staff of Rachel house assists and guides them in the process from registration to accessing it.

As I observed Rachel House staff with the family they were not like outsiders stepping in to advise on the family’s lives, Rachel House was a part of the family - connecting on a personal level instead of via a chart. One of the nurses explained that this is why she joined Rachel House. She said that working in a hospital, one would feel a bit separated since the charts dictated everything. Here she can support the family on an emotional level and connect more. 

After the visit, we parted with the family and the grandmother had tears. She said she was so happy to have the support of the nurses coming to their home. Her grandson was weak and could rest at home. Rachel House hopes to be able to provide this kind of support for other diseases in addition to cancer and HIV. Additionally, they hope to recruit new nurses while expanding awareness and understanding of palliative care in Indonesia. 


Jul 5, 2012

Our Nurses in the Community

The courageous team
The courageous team

In recent months, palliative care has quickly become the topic of discussion for many in the medical professions in Indonesia. As the first team of trained pediatric palliative care nurses in Indonesia, Rachel House's nurses receive many invitations to speak at medical conferences - to share their experiences in building the service and their knowledge in running a home-based palliative service for the marginalized communities in the sprawling urban areas of Jakarta. 

Last month at a forum attended by 200 medical professionals from public and private hospitals and teaching universities in West Java, Rachel House was invited to talk about our experience in providing home-based palliative care to patients with cancer and HIV. There were numerous cases shared by medical practitioners to illustrate the dire need for home-based medical care in Indonesia; presently, patients are being sent home with little or no preparation, both for the patients and for the caregivers - causing much suffering for all. Many bemoaned the dearth of trained home care nurses.

At Rachel House, we celebrate the courage and the commitment of our nurses who brave the horrific conditions to reach the children in need. 

As awareness of palliative care increases in Indonesia, our team begins to engage many more from the public hospitals in the hope of sharing the knowledge to the wider community so as to allow us all to work towards adding quality to the children's remaining days. 

Our nurse at work
Our nurse at work


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