The pain of illnesses was too much for people to handle. This is when he sought palliative care. Palliative care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. It is a comprehensive symptom management programme which treats total pain.
This includes psychological, social and spiritual pain treatment. In addition to treatment by medical doctors, the patient can involve counselors, social workers, and priests to deal with the stigma and psychological pain that accompanies the disease afflicting them.
HAU’s palliative care team is comprised of doctors, nurses, and social workers. The team is nurse-led but doctor-supervised. Social workers go on home visits to patients who endure stigmatization and social issues. Although palliative care has been implemented within policies by MoH, there are still many people who need it and cannot access it.
Rehema wants to go to school but is stigmatized by her community because of the swelling. Her mother struggles to afford the care she needs. The HAU palliative care team makes sure to visit her and keep up with her needs.
Palliative care strives to help people live with reduced pain and improved quality of life. It is from diagnosis to death, but in cases such as Watt's and other HIV patients, people can prolong their lives and eventually distance themselves from intensive palliative care to only minimal.
Palliative care can be a long process, one that does not end until death. Watiti says everyone is going to die someday, so you might as well make it more comfortable. This leaves caregivers invested in their patients’ lives. Many palliative care professionals such as Aciro become emotionally attached to the well-being of their patients.
In many cases, patients are treated in hospitals for illnesses. This can be distressing for patients as these hospitals are unfamiliar to them. Dr. Emmanuel Luyirika of the African Palliative Care Association says palliative care does home visits because it is where patients often feel most comfortable. He says it is important to build an infrastructure in the places where patients spend the most time.
Family integration within palliative care is an important way to improve the quality of life of a patient. HAU has a programme in which patients’ families are educated about their loved one’s illness to relay care to them when palliative care professionals are not around. Palliative care provides coping strategies not only the patient but also the family.