Applicability of hospice movement

Applicability of hospice movement

There are becoming more and more rights and fewer responsibilities in modern day life; and life without responsibility is always spiritless. Love, care, sincerity in relations, honesty and worthiness are leaving this world. It’s becoming a colder and lonelier place to live. Our society lives according to the principle: live for today - don’t think about anything unpleasant and, of course, don’t even let the idea of death come into your mind. Our instinctive fear of death causes us to not remember it, to not even think about it. But, according to terrible statistics, 7 million people die from cancer every year. The problem of cancer knows no analogues in complexity and importance for mankind. Half of all cancer patients are diagnosed in the advanced stage, when a full recovery is already impossible. Such patients require palliative help.

The achievements of modern oncology have brought about not only a vast improvement in the results of treatment, but also bring attention to the question of the quality of life of the patient.

If for the cured patients the quality of life has a certain value in their social rehabilitation, for incurable oncological patients the improvement of their quality of life is the basic and, perhaps the only, manageable task of rendering assistance to this severe category of patients. Such assistance should also be closely intertwined with the quality of life of the healthy family members, relatives and friends surrounding the patient.

Hospices are a new phenomenon for Belarus. Back in the soviet times it was uncommon to talk about incurable illnesses, and primarily this "taboo" concerned oncology. Now our society is attempting to face the problem of incurable and death-marked patients. One of the proofs of this is the creation of hospices and special services who attend to this category of patients.

Hospices are aimed exclusively at the aid of incurable patients, those who quite often become unnecessary "ballast" to the ordinary health care institutions. That’s the way the system of medical aid both in our country and in others is arranged; naturally, basic assets go on the treatment and recovery of a patient.

If a person is impossible to cure he appears to be out of the interests of the medical aid system. Not only do the hospices provide terminally ill people with professional treatment to the symptoms of their illnesses and with qualified nursery help, they also give psychological and spiritual support to the patients, their relatives and friends.

In our country there’s a paradoxical situation where state medical institutions have no resources to provide palliative help with the social aspect, and charity organizations prefer to give financial aid only to the projects in which the state is involved. Partly, such positions can be explained by a misunderstanding of the volume and tasks of the social services of hospices and palliative help departments, and by narrowing the functions of the social workers down to helping patients to receive the pensions and disability status they are entitled to. Therefore, today, the given topic is especially relevant.