The palliative care movement in Barbados has come in for high praise from Health Minister John Boyce.
Speaking at the opening of the 4th annual conference of the Barbados Association of Palliative Care at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre on Wednesday, Mr. Boyce said that despite its infancy, the Association ???shone like a beacon??? on the Barbadian landscape.
Noting that palliative care was a critical pillar in the care of persons with debilitating illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, he said: ???Caring for persons who are physically and mentally ill requires a great deal of patience and empathy. And for this reason, palliative care should be seen as all-embracing.???
The Health Minister submitted that doctors, nurses, social workers, the clergy and family members all had vital roles to play in the process, and these roles must be clearly defined.
This was important, he said, because ???the end result is to help the patient affected either to cope with the process of dying if the end is near, or help them cope with the psychological and physical impact of pain???.
He told his audience that a palliative care module had been introduced in the social and preventative medicine curriculum at the undergraduate level in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Additionally, the Barbados Association of Palliative Care also had a cadre of well-trained personnel who were continually upgrading their skills.
Mr. Boyce further recognised the contribution of the Barbados American Cancer Association (BACA), the Living Waters Community and the faith-based community in Barbados for their continued support of the national palliative care programme.
He urged private sector support for a project being spearheaded by the BACA and the Living Waters Community to establish a 15-bed hospice for terminally ill patients in Barbados.