Needs Assessment Survey Commissioned To Inform Palliative Care

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Participants gathered at the opening of the Adventist Lay-persons Services and Industries Palliative Care Conference being held at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort.??

A needs assessment project, commissioned by the Ministry of Health, is expected to, in the near future, provide epidemiological data to advise on the need for palliative care in Barbados.

While speaking at the opening of a two-day Palliative Care Conference convened by Adventist-Laypersons’ Service and Industries, Health Minister, Donville Inniss, today explained that the second phase of the project would be to present a clear strategy to ensure the success of palliative care services in Barbados for consideration by Government.?? The study is being coordinated by Dr. Natalie Greaves.

"It has been recognised that persons who are facing serious illness need assistance to improve their quality of life through the effective management of pain and other symptoms.??

Statistics show that between 2004 and 2006, there were 437 patients with terminal cancer who experienced severe pain, 244 who experienced difficulty breathing and 256 who experienced nausea and vomiting. The quality of life of these patients could have been made easier with appropriate palliative care intervention," the Health Minister indicated.

Additionally, Mr. Inniss revealed that his ministry had already established a Pain Management Committee, led by Dr. Cindy Flower, to identify strategies to improve this area of health care.?? He noted:?? "It is my belief that these initiatives will go a long way to improve the quality of life of patients and families by relieving pain, providing a supportive environment of caregivers and medical services, which will also ameliorate the psychological experiences that are involved.??

With access to palliative care services, patients will be able to better tolerate treatment and be in a better frame of mind to deal with the choices and decisions about their care."

While pledging Government’s support in creating an enabling policy framework environment to facilitate the involvement of a wide range of partners from the non-governmental and private sectors in the delivery of health care in Barbados, the Minister acknowledged the work of faith-based organisations, in particular the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church for promoting healthy lifestyles as part of its ministry.??

Within palliative care, emphasis is placed on pain and symptom management, communication and coordinated care. It is deemed appropriate from the time of diagnosis and can be provided along with customary curative treatment.?? Palliative care treats people suffering from serious and chronic illnesses including cancer, cardiac disease like Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Kidney Failure, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

The conference is being held at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort and will see presentations from Professor of Palliative Care McGill University, Dr. Anna Towers; Research Fellow in Palliative Care of Warwick Medical School, Dr. Paul Ong, and local facilitator, Dr. Natalie Greaves.????

lbayley@barbados.gov.bb

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