Bangladesh is a low income country. In the urban slums of Bangladesh, poverty makes the impact of life-limiting conditions devastating on family and community members. Communities that are already impoverished and marginalised are caring for each other without support, their ability to earn income taken away and without basic necessities. Palliative care services in the urban slum communities have not yet been developed.
There are very few, if any, community palliative care projects focussed on older people in urban slums around the world.
Together with our partners, we have started a pilot project to address this issue and demonstrate an effective model of palliative care for older people within an urban slum.
We are undertaking a situation and needs analysis of the palliative care needs of older people and their carers and the current care provision by family members, community members and organisations. Over the next few months we will be:
Running sensitisation programmes in the slums, to increase understanding and awareness of the need for palliative care.
Recruiting eight assistants from the slum community, training them in palliative care. The assistants will be responsible for identifying people in need and for providing basic palliative care in their homes.
Linking Palliative Care Nurses with the Community assistants to guide and mentor their activities.
Linking up with other community health workers, organisations and groups working in the slums to better meet the holistic needs identified.
At the mid-point of the project in November we will discuss how this approach is helping provide palliative care outreach services to at least 100 older people and their families in their homes. We will take a critical view of the initial six months of the project and will share our lessons of what has and hasn’t worked in that time.
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