The benefits of effective communication skills in patient care is well documented and our abstract illustrates how two unassuming healthcare professionals with Hospice and Tropical Health Education Trust (THET) support used these skills to cultivate and nurture relationships. This led to an unexpected invitation from Rwanda to participate in two “opioids in palliative care” workshops, targeting pharmacists and medical leads in an attempt to demystify opioid use, reduce opiophobia and highlight the benefits of collaborative, multidisciplinary teamwork.
We were asked to deliver several sessions including overview of palliative care in the world; opioid fears/myths, diversion, addiction; pain management, clinical cases and more! With six weeks to prepare, we spent evenings and weekends brainstorming innovative ways to engage our African colleagues from simple games and physical props, to quizzes and small group work, one patient even recorded a video about morphine and how it helped them live despite a palliative diagnosis.
The workshops were well received and delegates entered into the spirit of and appeared to thrive on our interactive exercises. Analysis of learning outcomes as established using pre and post course assessments showed significant improvement in opinions and understanding and ongoing communication with our Rwandan colleagues has shown morphine use in pain management continues to increase. We will also return to Rwanda later this year as part of a second THET project.
Whilst large formulated projects are vital in promoting good palliative care around the world the role of individual health professionals and the forming of personal links should be integral to this, so many of us have skills to share and could contribute and we hope that by sharing our experience we might encourage others to do the same as we are proof that from chance beginnings positive change can occur.
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