IAHPC has been a great source of inspiration for all of us in Pallium India. The Executive Director Ms Liliana de Lima visited our clinic in Trivandrum and went to the villages with our home care team. She showed great appreciation of our work and made some very impressive presentations about palliative care to a large group of doctors and nurses
IAHPC is a patient- and caregivers- oriented organization with restricted resources. It is maintaining a very reliable website - Hospicecare.com, where one can get complete information on palliative care. You can download free materials, books; get news; and much more.
I am a UK trained palliative care physician. I decided to spend 9 months working in Kerala, India as a volunteer for a fledgling palliative care NGO. My role was to help training of staff from Kerala and other parts of Asia as well as take part in general care of patients. This was an unpaid trip. IAPHC was very generous towards the funding of my living expenses for the period of time that I was there. India is not an expensive country to live in by Western standards but 9 months is also a long time. Without their help the trip would have been a lot harder for me. I found the whole experience absolutely fascinating. The approach to health, sickness, death and dying was very different to what I had experienced in the past. The options and opportunities available to patients varied widely. The time I spent in Kerala was an invaluable learning experience. While I was in Kerala, one of the senior members of the IAHPC visited the organisation. I was very nice to see a member of the organisation in the place where I was working. The website is a continually useful in interesting resource. There are reports from persons similar to myself who have visited other parts of the world and from health care practitioners from developing countries who have received funding to attend international conferences. There are reviews of books of specific interest and journal articles of interest. The organisation are strongly committed to improving palliative care around the world and spreading the message to palliative care providers in resource rich countries. I feel they do a very import job and strongly support them.
Back in 2005 I contacted IAHPC for the first time asking for help to start palliative care attention at Instituto de CancerologÃa in Guatemala, the national center for Cancer reference. The IAHPC response was immediate and of great help! I was introduced to other physicians around the world and was able to establish a personal net for inter-consultation in Palliative Care that has lasted to the present date. A month later I received a donation from the IAHPC of about 12 books related with the discipline, including the Oxford textbook of Palliative Medicine, all of them were absolutely useful since there were not educational resources for palliative care in my country and I couldn`t have had access to any printed material in Guatemala. I kept constant contact with the IAHPC from the first time, during this time I let them know about the situation of palliative care in Guatemala, I was being a pioneer in this field. There were not palliative care services or phycisians. Being a pioneer was very exiting for me, it was challenging but also was a big responsibility I was learning the principles while I was helping a lot of Guatemalans to die with dignity and without pain... but I was alone there, I needed to learn and observe good palliative care practices since it was not a familiar concept in my country, where there are considerable stigmas about end of life care and pain relief. By Octoher 2005, I sent an application and received a grant from the IAHPC to assist as a Foreign Fellow to the Palliative Care Unit at the MD Anderson which was an experience that marked a point of departure for my practice in Palliative Care. The time I spent there was busy from 6:45 to 5:00 observing patients, revising articles, participating in rounds team discussions, investigation projects and integrated care with the Palliative Care team leaded by Dr. Eduardo Bruera. The daily activity was completed making rounds and home visits at the Houston Hospice with Dr. Susan Krauter, one of the physicians that the IAHPC introduced to me some months ago. Dr. Krauter hosted me in her home and was willing to share with me the principles around hospice and end of life care, two concepts that were new for me. I`m greatful with all of them for their mentorship and help in developing my skills in palliative care. That time changed my life! It opened my eyes and my heart to many other possibilities I never imagined... I was clear that I didn`t have all the resources in Guatemala as the ones I observed in the institutions that I visited, but now I had the "whole pizza" scenario of what palliative care meant to be, a model of excelency in clinical attention, Palliative Care investigation, advocacy and education. From the start to the end, each day was challenging, a learning experience and life changing. Many of the partners around the world that followed up my beginings in Palliative Care have been close to me all this time since then, during this 5 years have some of them became, close loyal and signigicant friends, we all share our passion and work in Palliative Care. After my first visit to MD Anderson and Houston Hospice, I have been in contact constantly with the people of IAHPC and have received the newsletter in a regular basis. Through the newsletter I`ve access to great palliative care resources, I personally used the "How To Start" guide to structure a palliative care service for my institution, our unit was born with a vision of growing up to become a center of high quality in palliative care for Guatemala. Through the IAHPC newsletters I became involved in more activities and received more help to assist to other palliative care events as the Pain Policies Studies International Fellowship where IÂ´m involved to eliminate the barriers for opioid access and availability in my country, a program that promotes the cooperative work between international experts, fellows and some of the local healthcare authorities in each country. I also applied to a period of clinical observation as an international fellow in Navarra, Spain, a scholarship support program that was created by cooperative partnership of IAHPC with other Palliative Care Associations in Latin America and Spain. I received the grant for that program and will be assisting in August and September 2010, to University Clinic of Navarra, with Dr. Carlos Centeno, one of the spanish pioneers in Palliative Care that worked to promote it as a speciality in Spain and Europe. Today, I`m completing an International Fellowship Program at San Diego Hospice, I was invited to apply to this program through the IAHPC. Nowadays, I am developing a Palliative Care Department in my hospital. My highest goal is high quality Palliative Care. I have started an education program that is now official for undergraduate medicine students. In 2007 I started a postgraduate education program for residents of internal medicine and anesthesiology that has been growing since October 2005, but still needs to be included in the official curriculum. Our team today counts with two physicians, two pshychologists a nurse and a social worker, we still work from the hospital and need to provide home based hospice as our next step. By the end of 2009 we attended 3,000 consultations, one third of them were new patients. I consult the IAHPC "Pallipedia" in a regular basis, and keep myself actualized with the articles and revisions that the IAHPC publishes. Also, I use the tools and resources for patient care provided by the IAHPC as the main source of referral to the students of medicine and residents that come to my department to receive education in palliative care. I live in an underdeveloped country, I work with the poorest population in Guatemala, with scarce resources from the government for palliative care. The generous, constant and consistent help I have received from IAHPC has been a blessing providing the finantial support that has allowed me to acquire professional education and periods of direct observation with recoginized authorities in this field, keeping me on the path of providing palliative care with the best standards of care according to my resources. There has been an important support for Guatemalan patients through my participation in all the educational activities in palliative care that where available for me through the contact with IAHPC. Each experience where I have became involved has helped me to develop new areas of attention in Palliative Care in Guatemala. One of the aspects that I really appreciate is the networking that the IAHPC offers among other palliative care professionals and institutions around the world, many of them, as I mentioned are now close and valuable fellows that share and follow our progresses in Guatemala. I also enjoy following up their work in their countries, this encourages me to go up my goals and provide palliative care based in our population needs. My devoted and sincere thanks to the IAHPC for all the support during this wonderful career as a pioneer in Palliative Care in Guatemala, I wish that the IAHPC could continue helping more nations, that as in my case start with an individual that provides palliative care in the middle of a huge population in need, scarce resources, and no education and development opportunities in their own countries