Newsletter – June 2014

Greetings from Home of the Open Heart Hospice. In this newsletter you can read about all of the exciting developments in our vision to establish the very first hospice in this part of Thailand. Discover the latest news, view our mission statement and find out how you can get involved through prayer and volunteer opportunities.

Who will the hospice care for:

The hospice aims to accept HIV+ patients who have a life limiting illness that requires 24 hour care and do not have the money, or family, to care for them.

 The hospice also hopes to be able to offer respite care for periods of 2 weeks at a time for patients who fulfill the above criteria and have limited family support.

 

The hospice mission statement below sets out the principles which will underpin the work of the hospice:

Mission Statement
Our mission is to help the HIV patient live the last days of their life with dignity, by providing healthcare that is responsive, compassionate, holistic and based on biblical values.

Vision
To excel and be recognised as a source of God’s love and hope to the patients under our care.

Values
We value the marginalised, poor and destitute who are in their final stages of life due to HIV.

We value anticipating and responding to the needs of our patients through the provision of holistic care, respecting the sacredness of life.

These values are expressed in the following ways:

– physical needs: in partnership with the Thai Government Hospital our primary aim is to endeavour to make the patient as comfortable as possible, striving to provide symptom relief rather than active treatment.

– emotional: we will endeavour to be sensitive to the patient’s emotional needs and meet these when practically possible.

– spiritual: we will endeavour to be sensitive to the spiritual needs and religious background of the patient. Within their needs we will strive to provide an environment where we can show through our practical care God’s love, compassion and understanding.

– psychosocial: we will endeavour to be sensitive to the patient’s cultural background, relationship and social needs and to meet these whenever practically possible.

Hospice opens the doors to its first patient 

In March 2014 we were able to accept our very first patient. We knew this was only a temporary situation as staffing levels and medicine supply issues were still not resolved. However for 3 days the hospice was able to meet the needs of a HIV positive man from one of the local hill tribes.

He was being discharged back to a small rural village following a perforated appendix and his wife was unable to care for him at home in the initial days after his discharge.

A local Christian charity that worked within his village contacted Home of the Open Heart and asked if we could help. We were delighted to be able to step in and provide care in a clean and welcoming environment.

It was wonderful to see the hospice being used to address a particular need and it provided a great opportunity to identify any gaps in facilities.  It also highlighted the importance of language and communication when caring for any patient but especially those within a palliative care context.

Staffing needs:

We plan to run a 24 hour nurse-led hospice. This will require a minimum of 5 full time nurses to cover the 8 hour shifts.

It is expected that some medical support will be provided by the local government hospital in terms of telephone advice and medical supplies.

We also need a minimum of 5 full time non-clinical support workers to undertake shifts alongside the nurses.

To provide palliative care in its widest context we need staff that are able to communicate with the patients under their care, and with their colleagues. We therefore need local bilingual Thai nurses and support workers who can communicate with patients on an emotional and spiritual level. Before we open we need to be fully staffed and we hope that at least half these staff will be local bilingual Thai.

We hope that local staff will be able to commit for at least one year and preferably two. In order to enable local staff to commit to this length of time we need to provide them with some income. In his book AIDS Action , Dr Patrick Dixon also points out that ‘it is cheaper and better for the community to employ local people rather than buying in people from wealthy nations’. We would like churches to consider supporting us by sponsoring local nurses that we can train in palliative care. We estimate that funding for one bilingual Thai nurse would cost cost 18,000 THB per nurse per month (GBP 328, USD 551, AUD 595 based on the current exchange rate of 54THB to 1GBP, 32THB to 1USD and 30THB to 1AUD)

We still need overseas volunteers who can provide clinical skills, expertise and training. While we welcome volunteers for any period of time, ideally we would like volunteers to be able to commit for at least 6 months.

The hospice movement is not well developed in Thailand and hospice based palliative care is a relatively new concept. It would be wonderful to see this hospice become the first of many in this country, with an army of locally trained nurses demonstrating God’s love and compassion across this country to those in their last days of life.

Ephesians 3:20
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”

prayer points

Specific Prayer Points:

– For 5 full time equivalent nurses

– For 5 full time equivalent non-clinical support workers

– At least half of the staff to be local bilingual Thai workers

– Funding for local bilingual Thai nurses  – cost 18,000 THB per nurse per month (GBP 328, USD 551, AUD 595 based on the current exchange rate of 54THB to 1GBP, 32THB to 1USD and 30THB to 1AUD)

– Ongoing access to advice and medical supplies through the local government hospital.

 

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