Many children from poor families spend their last days in horrific pain. Typically, the family would have spent all their savings on finding cure for the sick child, and when treatment is no longer viable the child would be taken home with hardly any pain medication or symptom management. Palliative care in Indonesia is at its infancy. Medical professionals are still focussing more on cure while sacrificing symptom management - pain is to be tolerated. Especially so for the poor.
Rachel House's nurses not only provide palliative care to the patients, but spends a significant part of their time training healthcare professionals and volunteers to increase awareness in palliative care - in the hope that the people know that pain need not be tolerated. As a result of the training, the Dharmais Public Cancer Hospital now has a pediatric palliative care unit. There are now 5-6 public hospitals that are our patient referral partners.
As the understanding of palliative care grows, people hopefully will no longer take pain as their fate but will demand that pain and symptom management be given to their loved ones who are sick. Even today, there are increasing number of healthcare professionals who are approaching Rachel House requesting to be trained in palliative care. Hopefully this will mean that people will no longer have to watch their loved ones die in pain without any medical assistance to alleviate their suffering.
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