Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk implements some medico-social programs that foresee care and support of seriously-ill persons. For the last three years our local employees have assisted more than 135 patients in city and oblast. To secure provision of palliative care services complex* there are three mobile brigades that include a doctor, a nurse, a psychologist or a spiritual father. It helps to evaluate needs of an ill person, make a plan of medical and social assistance, spiritual and psychological support of severely-ill people and their relatives.
Recently, local Caritas organized an informational initiative in order to attract attention of local community to problems and needs of palliative patients. Medico-social workers provided information to residents and guests of the city about Caritas activity and possibilities to address for assistance and support of seriously-ill persons and their relatives, and also informed about medical establishments that operate in the sphere of palliative care.
All interested people benefited from chargeless services on measurement of blood pressure and blood sugar level, consultations of general physicians on treatment and prevention of complications of various diseases.
Annually, over 600 thousand terminally-ill people require palliative help. These are oncology patients, elderly persons, people who suffer from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis and other incurable illnesses. In compliance with World Health Organization (WHO) standards, there are should be at least 1000 beds for palliative patients per 1 mln. of population. According to experts’ data, as of the beginning of 2013 there were only 10 hospices in Ukraine and also 15 specialized palliative departments with 850 total number of beds for provision of services to palliative patients instead of at least 4500 beds required.
Palliative care as an approach that improves the life quality of patients with incurable diseases started to develop in Ukraine only at the end of 90th in XX century. During that period of time first hospices were opened: in 1996 – in Lviv, in 1997 – in Ivano-Frankivsk; and these hospices are still the leading establishments in rendering of hospital and outpatient palliative assistance. Furthermore, there is almost no system for care of incurably-ill people at their homes, though the majority of palliative patients die in their homes, according to the Ministry of Healthcare.
In such conditions “Home Care” program of Caritas Ukraine is really significant. It has been implemented for 13 years on the basis of Caritas organizations in 8 oblasts of Ukraine and secured help for more than 7 thousand people: seniors, disabled persons, people who live with HIV/AIDS, terminally-ill patients and those who need constant or temporary assistance due to disease progression or obtained injury.
Apart from qualified medical and spiritual assistance, consultations on pain relief, elimination of severe symptoms of diseases and prevention of deuteropathies, workers of Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk of the UGCC provide beneficiaries with material assistance in form of medicines, care products, food packages and personal hygiene items. Such approach, support and constant attention to the beneficiary and his/her relatives give hope for future, save faith in own abilities and in general fill life with sense and meaning.
* Palliative care (derived from a French word palliatif and Latin pallium — to cloak) is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.