With a vision that no child should ever have to die in pain without love and care, Rachel House has set itself a seemingly unattainable goal.
With only a handful of nurses on our team, it was clear to us that as soon as the first team is sufficiently confident in their knowledge of palliative care, we will have to begin sharing the knowledge quickly and widely to ensure more children living with life-threatening conditions can be provided with palliative care.
So, in line with this commitment and holding the vision in mind, Rachel House held its very first public seminar on palliative care o n29th August 2012. The event received an overwhelming response from the medical community, even though it was held the week immediately after the long Eid holiday.
A total of 38 doctors and nurses from some of the largest public and private hospitals, and medical teaching institutions in Indonesia attended the 1-day public seminar.
The 1-day seminar was led by two of the most renowned palliative care experts in the Asia Pacific region, Dr Sue Marsden and Liese Groot-Alberts. Dr Sue Marsden is a Palliative Medicine Specialist whose initial postgraduate medical training was in Radiation Oncology. Liese Groot-Alberts is a grief therapist, well known for her trainings in trauma, loss, grief and bereavement. Both Sue and Liese had been part of the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Organisation facilitating team for Australasia.
The participants at the seminar were fully engaged throughout the day, an indication of how things have changed since pediatric palliative care training was first organized by Rachel House in Indonesia in collaboration with the Singapore International Foundation in 2009.
Many questions were asked about how palliative care can be integrated into the services offered by hospitals, and the professionals required in setting up a palliative care unit within a hospital setting. Almost all of the participants requested for more follow-up workshops on palliative care.
It is an exciting time for palliative care in Indonesia – the momentum we have been waiting for is now here. It is our sincere hope that through these learning and sharing sessions, more children will benefit from improved quality of life in their courageous battles against illnesses.