palliative care training participants hold their toolkits

Recently INF held a two-day refresher workshop on palliative care at Green Pastures Hospital, for both INF and non-INF health professionals. They are running more training this month. But why is this work important and strategic for Green Pastures Hospital?

The World Health Organisation [WHO] has indicated that palliative care is an urgent priority worldwide for the swelling numbers who need access to appropriate care. Nepal has only limited palliative care; it is mainly cancer-focused and located in the central part of the country. However, high and growing levels of raised blood pressure and diabetes are increasing the risk and incidence of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure. Along with lung disease and cancer, these non-communicable diseases are the cause of much suffering, financial burden, and a significant increase in death rates.

The Green Pastures Palliative Care Service currently includes 2 inpatient beds and a low-key community service. The strategy is to build off this foundation, developing an innovative model to become the first comprehensive Nepali service caring for all palliative patients irrespective of diagnosis. It will include Day Therapy, clinics, community service and a 10-bed inpatient unit.

Training of health workers and community members is foundational to improving understanding of holistic care, which includes good symptom management, communication and end of life care. The Green Pastures service has facilitated regular workshops over the past 5 years.

Refresher training participants do group work

Refresher training participants practice their communication skills together

The 24 enthusiastic Refresher participants (6 INF and 18 non-INF) that attended the recent training had all previously completed the 2-day Introductory Palliative Care Workshop.

“Through doing the Introductory course, I realized the importance of listening to and talking with the patient directly – and I was empowered to try,” shared one participant. “I experienced an enormous difference caring for one old man, and now I want to keep making that kind of difference with all my patients and families.”

The interactive training sessions included clinical updates for cancer and non-cancer diseases, pain and symptom management, end-of-life care and more communication skills training. Dr Dan Munday and Sr Manju (from INF International) joined the Green Pastures Palliative Care team (Dr Ruth & Sr Purna) to facilitate the training, which had very positive feedback.

“What a privilege we have to share in people’s journey and see the difference holistic care can make for individuals and their families,” shares Dr Ruth Powys (Russell), INF’s Palliative Care specialist. “In the last few months we have also seen God opening doors in an amazing way for significant future palliative care development at Green Pastures.”