On June 25th, Richard Smith former editor of the BMJ and still a regular blogger in that journal wrote of his participation at a Royal Society of Medicine conference. Richard quoted speakers who included colleagues Scott Murray, David Praill, Barbara Gomes and Ann Merriman as to the lack of palliative care and pain relief in most countries.
But Richard spent most of the article (BMJ 2012, 06/25) discussing the Neighbourhood Network in Kerala India. This model is very community based with 12,000 volunteers caring for 15,000 patients. (90% of the funds are raised locally and 70% are less than 30 US cents).
We discussed this paper on the #hpmglobal chat today (Monday’s 8 am New York time, 1 pm London time, 1730 Delhi time and 10 pm Sydney).
While no one was critical of the Kerala model, and agreed with the need for community involvement, in fact one comment. “What I like best is the notion that death and dying is a community issue NOT a medical one.”
But there was a general agreement that each community/region/country needs to work out the best network/delivery model for them. In parts of Kenya it may be Home Based community care, parts of Tanzania the CHAT program where the Lutheran Health system promotes “every church a caring church” or the churches of Jamaica.
So agreeing with Richard, we need to engage communities in palliative care. The challenge is doing that in the way that is meaningful to the community and then to educate these community based organizations in palliative care!
Your thoughts, examples, challenges……….