For the last three years Hospice Care Kenya has sponsored students studying for the Diploma in Palliative Care at the Kenya Medical Training College. One such student is Salome and here we tell why she felt impelled to learn more about what can be done to relieve a patients suffering with palliative care.
Salome works at Mwingi sub county hospital, which is located along the Nairobi-Garissa road about 200 km from Nairobi city. Several of the patients coming to the hospital are being brought in with advanced chronic illnesses and end up suffering and dying in pain. The nearest palliative care unit that the patients can access is in Kitui which is about 100km from the hospital.
Salome was called by a patient to go and help his father who was discharged from the hospital and he was in a lot of pain at home. On reaching the home, she found the patients’ father with a prescription of brufen and tramadol tablets which were not adequately controlling his pain. Salome noticed the discomfort and called the doctor in charge for advice on what to do next hoping there was a better solution for the patient. To her dismay the doctor explained to her that there was nothing else to be done other than reassuring the patient and the family.
In that instant Salome felt as if her heart was being ripped to shreds. She personally felt pain knowing that there was nothing she could do in her power to help the patient who was lying down in agonizing pain.
Due to this encounter Salome felt compelled to undergo the higher diploma in palliative care course offered at the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Nairobi. She is currently doing her clinical placement and mentorship at The Machakos Hospital (level 5) Palliative Care Unit.
“The joy from palliative care comes out throughout the time spent with patients. When they can move from one stage to another, when they can ask for help and get it, when they can talk openly about what they want and what they can do.”