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‘90% in need of palliative care in Kingdom do not receive it ‘

By Dana Al Emam - Apr 18,2017 - Last updated at Apr 18,2017

Improving access to palliative medical and home care services helps reduce hospital bills and emergency room visits, and helps lessen the pain felt by patients of chronic diseases, according to a health expert (Photo by MCT)

AMMAN — Around 90 per cent of people in Jordan in need of palliative care, which addresses the physical and psychological needs of patients with serious or life-limiting illnesses, do not receive it, a health expert said on Tuesday.

Additionally, around 80 per cent of Jordanians in need of opioid analgesics, which are prescribed medications for the relief of moderate to severe pain, do not have access to them, said Omar Shamieh, chairman of the National Palliative Care Committee.

Speaking at a workshop organised by the King Hussein Cancer Centre (KHCC) to set up the National Palliative and Home Care Strategic Framework, Shamieh said there is a growing need for concerned stakeholders to work on further promoting a culture of palliative and home care.

The workshop is part of the Palliative and Home Care Education Programme for healthcare professionals, implemented through the National Home Care Initiative Project, launched in June 2016 and funded by USAID.

The programme offers a wide range of educational and training opportunities designed for healthcare professionals, as well as for family caregivers and volunteers, at different skill levels, according to organisers, who added that the programme has so far trained around 500 healthcare professionals.

Shamieh noted that some challenges still need to be addressed, such as the lack of public awareness of the advantages of palliative care, social misconceptions about pain relief, overly restrictive regulations for opioid pain relief and the insufficient skills and capacities of some health workers.

Improving access to palliative medical and home care services helps reduce hospital bills and emergency room visits, and helps lessen the pain felt by patients of chronic diseases and cancer, while reducing the suffering of their families, added Shamieh, who also chairs the KHCC's Hospice and Palliative Care Department.

Meanwhile, strengthening palliative care policies, improving the capacities of workers in the field, providing support to families and community volunteers, as well as coordinating with private and public health insurance programmes to cover palliative care costs, could help Jordan realise its international commitments to enhance its provision of palliative care, he said.

Health Minister Mahmoud Sheyyab acknowledged Jordan's need to advance comprehensive palliative and home care services, noting that the ministry will do "everything possible to further the spread of palliative care". 

KHCC Director General Asem Mansour highlighted the role of palliative and home care in providing comfort for patients and their families as those with terminal and chronic diseases receive medical care at home, an issue that decreases pressure on hospitals.

For her part, World Health Organisation  Representative to Jordan Maria Cristina Profili said there are around 40 million people in need for palliative care around the world, with only 14 per cent of them able to access these health services. 

USAID Deputy Mission Director Lewis Tatem commended KHCC's efforts in providing professional with training on palliative care and assigning two new teams for the purpose of providing these services to patients.   

The educational curriculum of the programme is designed and reviewed by well-trained and experienced health professionals from the field, and is delivered through a variety of proven effective methods in education and training, including many practical and clinical elements, the organisers said.

 

The main objective of the programme is to develop a critical mass of health care professionals and care givers who can effectively manage patients, particularly those with disabilities or in advanced stages of disease in different healthcare settings, especially at home, in order to alleviate suffering and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

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THANKS AMIRA FOR YOUR OPINION WHICH SURELY COUNTS. FIRST, I MUST SAY THAT NO WEALTHY INDIVIDUAL FROM THAT REGION NEVER MIND THE HOLISTIC KINGDOM OF JORDAN WANTS TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN OVERSEAS FOR DRUG ADDICTION. I HAVE BEEN IN MEDICAL FIELD FOR OVER 30 YEARS AND GRADUATED FROM UNIVERSITIES FOUR TIMES AND NEVER COME ACROSS ANY ADICT COLLEGE STUDENT FROM JORDAN. IT IS NOT THEIR CULTURE, THEIR UP-BRINGING OR EVEN A PART OF THEIR SOCIAL NORM. YES, THERE MAY BE SOME OUTLIERS HERE AND THERE BUT SURELY WAS NOT COPIED WHILE A STUDENT IN USA. JUST YOU KNOW, YOU CAN BE EXPELLED, GO TO JAIL AND COMPLETELY DESTROYED IF YOU ARE COUGHT WITH ANY ILLIGAL DRUG INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE CAMPUS AND IN MOST CASES THIS INCLUDES ALCOHOL SO I DO NOT KNOW WHAT COULD MAKE ANY PERSON THINK THAT WE ARE ALL CRACK HEADS IN THE WEST. MY FELLOW JORDANIAN FRIENDS THE ISSUE HERE IS TO AVOID SUFFERING IN PAIN AT ANY LEVEL OF SICKNESS NEVER MIND WHEN THE SICK HAS A ZERO PROBABILITY OF SURVIVAL. JORDAN IS A UNIQUE MODEL COUNTRY THAT HAS GROWN AND PROGRESSIVELY MEETING OR TRYING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ITS CITIZENS IN ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARD AND WE ALL SHOULD ENCOURAGE THIS AND GIVE YOUR POLICY MAKERS SOME CHEERS. THIS IS 2017 AND NOT 1800 WHEN THE ONLY MEDICINE WAS ASPIRIN AND WE POUR IODINE TO AN OPEN WOUNDS AND SO JORDAN SHOULD MARCH ALONG WITH TIME AS THEY HAVE BEEN DOING NO MATTER HOW SLOW THAT MAY BE. I WOULD NOT WANT ANY OF MY JORDANIAN FRIENDS NEVER MIND MY LIVING MOTHER IN LAW AND OTHERS TO LIE ON A BED, IN PAIN, SUFFERING, SCREEMING AND I STAND THERE AND WATCH ONLY TO SAY NO TO PAIN KILLER OR OTHER MEDICINES AVILABLE IN THE TOOL BOX. IF I DO THIS, IT WILL BE A CRIMINAL ACT AND LACK OF HONOR AND RESPECT FOR MY BELOVED ONES. IF AMIRA THINKS THAT TREATING PAIN IN A TERMINAL SICK PATIENTS WHICH WAS WHAT THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE WAS ON IS " HARAM ", WHY DO WE DO SURGERIES IN JORDAN WITH ANASTETICS WHICH INCLUDES THE MOST POTENT OPIOD THAT IS OVER TEN TIMES MORE POWERFUL THAN MORPHINE? JORDAN HAS BEEN RELATIVELY GOOD WHEN IT COMES TO NON SUBSTANCE ABUSE. WE SHOULD KEEP IT THIS WAY BUT SIMULTENOUSLY TREAT THOSE WHO MEDICALLY NEEDS THESE TREATMENTS. I AM NOT A PAIN DOCTOR NOR DO I WORK FOR ANY DRUG COMPANY BUT THESE SERVICES ARE THERE FOR COMMON GOOD AND SHOULD NOT BE ABUSED I RARELY RECOMMEND OR PRESCRIBE OPIODS UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. GOING BACK TO WHAT AMIRA SAID ABOUT COMMING BACK OF ADDICTED STUDENTS IS JUST AN INSULT FOR LOTS OF BRILLIANT JORDANIANS WHO ARE NOT ONLY EXPARTS IN THEIR FIELS POST UNIVERSITY EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN THE WEST BECAUSE I CAN NOT REMEMBER ANY OF THESE EXCEPTIONAL CLEAN POPULATION SAMPLE THAT HAS TURNED ADDICTS BECAUSE THEY HAVE STUDIED IN USA OR EUROPE BUT YOU MAY HAVE A POINT THAT DRUG PROBLEMS ARE CRIPPING UP IN JORDAN BUT THE QUESTION IS WHY?. SURELY THIS WAS NOT THE CASE BEFORE THE ARAB SPRING AND OTHER WAR RELATED VIOLENCE IN THE REGION. IF I CAN PROPOSE ONE HYPOTHESIS, THAT WILL BE THAT CHAOS, ANARCHY, VIOLENCE, WASTE OF RESOURCES IN ARMS AND GUNS, SENNSE OF HELPLESSNES AND HOPELESSNESS, HUNGER, LACK OF JOBS ARE THE COMMON CAUSE OF ANY TREND WE SEE NOW AND NOT COPY CAT FROM THE WEST. I HOPE THAT AMMIRA WILL READ THIS RESPONSE AND THINK ABOUT IT AND FEEL FREE TO RESPOND TO ANY ARTICLE IN JORDAN TIMES ANY TIME BECAUSE THIS SMALL OPPERATED NEWS PRINT IS MORE IMPORTANT TOOL OF NATION BUILDING FOR JORDAN IN ALL OUR POLICIES, EXPOSURE AND DEFINING AND RE-DEFINING ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND PEACEFUL COUNTRY CALLED JORDAN. I HOPE THAT ONE DAY, THE COUNTRY WILL COME TO TERMS WITH REALITY THAT WITHOUT JORDAN TIMES, ONLY GOD WILL KNOW WHAT THE STATUS OF JORDAN WILL BE TODAY. AFTER READING THIS, YOU WILL BE VERY VERY PROUD OF HOW FAR JORDAN HAS COME AND HOW MUCH MORE YOU CAN BE PROUD OF YOUR COUNTRY AND THE FUTURE OF YOUR NEXT GENERATION.

Why don't you stop wealthy sending you drug addict students and perverts who crimes? These young men give Jordan a bad reputation. Only for them to return back to Jordan and do the same? Then maybe your patients Who need proper medicine can get care. Now you just have a reputation for a country of drug addicts.

GOOD ARTICLE THAT EXPOSES THE CULTURAL CLASH WITH ADVANCES IN MEDICINE. SURELY, NO ONE WANTS ANY SOCIETY OF OPIATE ADDICTS NEVER MIND THOSE OF TOBACCO BUT THIS IS 2017 AND BELEIVE IT OR NOT THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED HOSPICE CARE AND OTHER FORMS OF CARE FOR TERMINAL SICH PATIENTS. MOST IF NOT ALL THESE PATIENTS DIE IN PAIN OVER LONG PERIOD OF TIME. I HAVE SEEN IT IN JORDAN. NO DOCTRIN SAYS THA ANY PERSON HAS TO DIE IN PAIN.

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