Ana Toklikishvili

Sharing the Care -Call for celebrating the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 

Sharing the care - this was a slogan for celebrating the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day throughout the world on October 9. 

This year, Georgia got involved in this initiative together with other countries, and with the efforts of the Open Society Georgia Foundation and with the support of the First Lady of Georgia a charitable event was held at Vaso Abashidze Theater of Musical Comedy and Drama on October 9. The evening started with the exhibition and sale of the paintings by prominent Georgian artists, and ended with a concert with participation of the chamber ensemble Muse (piano - Zurab Khutsishvili, flute - Irakli Evstapishvili, violin - Nino Kemularia, guitar - Vazha Kalandadze, soprano - Megi Chikhradze), Sopo Khalvashi, Eka Mamaladze and fellows of the Classical Music Support Association - Tamar Sakandelidze and Zura Gvantseladze. 

The purpose of the event dedicated to the International Palliative Care Day was to raise the public awareness on palliative care, and on the other hand to raise funds for two hospices operating in Tbilisi. 

"Today's event is charitable, which aims at bringing the significance of palliative care to the public, and raising funds for assisting the hospices in Tbilisi. The donated funds will be distributed among these institutions and in the future more patients will have an access to palliative care. Sharing the Care - the slogan of the year emphasizes that we altogether, NGOs, business companies, the government and ordinary citizens should share the responsibility of providing care to the terminally ill people and assist them as much as we can, by donations, physical care or spiritual compassion" said Keti Khutsishvili, executive director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. 

Representatives of the medical field, business sector, embassies, government, artists and the media participated in the event. They had a chance to assist the hospices by making donations at the venue, transferring the money or purchasing the paintings. Gratitude was expressed towards the companies and individuals who made their contributions for assisting the hospices before the event. The company Shirnhoffer was distinguished as being among the first ones to transfer money to the charitable fund (5,000 GEL). 

Famous artists: Anton Balanchivadze, Edmond Kalandadze, Zura Gomelauri, Levan Kharanauli, Sandro Antadze, Maka Jebirashvili, Tamuna Bochorishvili, Giorgi Gagoshidze, Giorgi Jamburia and Giorgi Dolidze made special contribution at the charitable event for assisting the hospices by donating their paintings to the Fund for free and at a very low price. 

Sandra Roelofs, the First Lady of Georgia spoke about the importance of 
tthe palliative care. "Palliative care deserves special attention of the public. It is very close to my heart. I have worked with palliative patients for 7 months. It was a very hard period, but the patients and their families need our aid very much. Palliative care does not mean curing those who are ill. Palliative care is an expression of attention, assistance and spiritual compassion to the patients. This is why the medical education is not needed for assisting the palliative patients". 

"Palliative care needs recognition and support from the public. Palliative care is provided by active participation of the public in the whole world - with finances, advocacy and physical assistance. In most cases the people work as volunteers and physically support those in hard conditions" - pointed out Ioseb Abesadze, representative of the hospice functioning on the basis of Onco-Prevention Center.Currently there are 2 hospices functioning in Tbilisi. One of them is on the basis of Onco-Prevention Center, and the other one is at the Transfiguration Monestary, where the nuns are taking care of the patients and provide spiritual compassion to them. "Our hospice is distinguished because it is a family-type establishment. We have family members in difficulties and we assist them to gain the peace of mind and feel better" - says Mother Paraskeva. 

Introduction of palliative care in Georgia was first supported in 1999 by the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Open Society Institute. With the support of the Foundation and with the assistance of the First Lady, foundation was laid to the palliative care as a system in Georgia, and this direction of medicine was actually activated. As the result of intensive work and advocacy, in 2007 the palliative care was given a legal status as a separate field and respective amendments were made to the Law on Healthcare. 

Development of palliative care is supported in Georgia by the Georgian National Association of Palliative Care, headed by Dimitri Kordzaia. This association is focused on the HIV patients. Other than hospices there are also home care services, which provide care to 6,000 patients a year. 

Additional information about palliative care: 
Palliative care is the multi-profile care, which aims to relieve the pain of people ill with terminal diseases and to provide social and psychological aid and spiritual compassion to them. And the hospices are institutions where the people are provided with physical and moral support during the last days of their lives. Such diseases are: AIDS, cancer in the IV stage, Alzheimer, Parkinson, cardio-vascular and neurology diseases... These people are palliative patients, for which the only thing the medicine has left is to alleviate their condition, and these are the ones who need palliative care. 

There are thousands of people who need palliative care in Georgia today, but currently the little number of beds and human resources at hospices cannot meet the growing demand of patients. As the result, thousands of patients suffer from severe physical and spiritual hardship, which prevent them from continuing full-fledged and decent lives. 

  • Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Written by: Ana Toklikishvili
  • Wednesday, 20 October 2010

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