The Hospice Palliative Care Association calls for better care for people with advanced illness; for palliative care to be available to people in all health settings, not just in a small NGO sector; and for training of all healthcare professionals in palliative care.
The essence of palliative care is the relief of suffering. Palliative care aims to control pain and other symptoms, to relieve psychological and spiritual distress and to support family members in bereavement. This active approach to improve a person’s quality of life often also assists in prolonging life and assists patients to live as actively as possible even with serious illness.
Hospice and palliative care staff provide care that is tailored to each individual’s need, we respect patient’s wishes and value each person for the unique individual they are. We strive for all our patients to live and die with dignity. This approach should be offered to patients of all ages in all health care settings.
HPCA endorse the South African Patient’s Rights Charter that states that "everyone has the right of access to health care services that include provision for special needs in the case of patients in pain, and palliative care that is affordable and effective".
We call on government to ensure that palliative care is accessible, available and affordable to South Africans facing advanced illness, and to ensure that at the end of their lives patients are treated with dignity and experience relief of suffering.
There are active steps to be taken to ensure access to palliative care. The World Health Organisation recommends a public health approach to the implementation of palliative care services that relies on the education of all health care workers in palliative care; accessibility of palliative care medications; and the development and implementation of policy guiding palliative care implementation in health and welfare sectors.