End-of-life care is an important issue for the community all over the world. The health care that people receive in the last years, months and days of their life can help to minimize the distress and grief associated with dying for the individual, their family, friends and carers.
Every year in Serbia around 20,000 patients die from cancer, 33.4% die in hospitals, while for the others there is no relevant data. Although Palliative care is still available to a sm
all number of patients, however the services provided by BELhospice in the country without support from government or legislative body have international standards because of the affiliation with the British organization Hospices of Hope.
This year, World Hospice and Palliative Care Day are celebrated worldwide on the October 10th. Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness. I was fortunate to be part of the Organisation at that moment to witness the participation during the eve.
On the occasion of the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Celebration, Dr. Natasa Milicevic from BELhospice gave a lecture at the International fair of Medicine on the subject “Palliative care: Hidden patients”.
Dr Natasa Milicevic from BELhospice center says that it was estimated that 80% of cancer patients need palliative care during the last year of their life. We should also consider that it`s not only patient but add to this number family members who are also facing numerous psychosocial and spiritual challenges in those moments.
Quality palliative care would help worldwide approximately 100 million people, and there is an approximation of around 16,000 cancer patients and members of their families in Serbia.
Since I came here, I am informed that in the last couple of years a lot has been done on the development of palliative care in Serbia, however it is still available only to a limited number of patients, and both professionals and general public still don’t have it perfectly aware what palliative care really is and how it can help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.
I realized during the lecture that celebrating the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on bigger level is important for raising awareness about the need for providing palliative care to cancer patients, and that this is a problem of entire society and not only of Ministry of Health and competent institutions.