Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 18th 2013 Contents B24
I would like to congratulate the Pal-
liative Care Society on their hard work
and dedication in transforming the
care available to persons with life-
threatening illnesses and their fami-
lies in Trinidad and Tobago through
increased medical support, social sup-
port and advocacy. This year the soci-
ety has chosen as its theme for their
third Conference "Palliative Care, more
than just Cancer Care .
There is no denying that cancer
makes up a large percentage of persons
suffering with a terminal illness. How-
ever when we look at the real need for
palliative care in a population we find
that the greater need is also for those
suffering from non-cancer diseases such
as heart failure, chronic obstructive pul-
monary disease, stroke, dementias, liver
and kidney failure, motor neuron dis-
eases, and other less common condi-
tions. For children there are many that
have congenital anomalies, neonatal
conditions, endocrine disorders, and
other illnesses specific to childhood.
Palliative care is that part of modern
medicine which makes end of life care
better, and the Ministry of Health is
pleased to be working with the Palliative
Care Society of Trinidad and Tobago to
ensure that everyone has access to
quality palliative care. The Ministry of
Health is committed in assisting the So-
cietys in its quest and we have been
able to achieve the following:
• Expanded community based pallia-
tive care services in rural areas such
as SWRHA, ERHA and very soon in
NCRHA with the establishment of
palliative care ward.
• Extended capacity of palliative care
services through workshops and in-
ternational conferences Additionally
the University of the West Indies
has started an MSC programme in
Palliative Care now in its second
• Integration of primary care, aged
care and specialist palliative care
services where there would be link-
ages to ensure the best possible
care for our patients.
• Expanded support for families and
carers. The Ministry acknowledges
that this is an integral part of pallia-
tive care and will ensure increased
access to information, advice and
To the Society, I look forward to work-
ing at your side as we continue to come
up with solutions to help persons in
need of palliative care to access them,
thus preserving their self-respect while
placing them in a protected and com-
fortable environment. Dr Fuad Khan,
Minister of Health
In collaboration with the University of the West Indies,
Mount Sinai Hospital and The University of Toronto
Cordially invites all Health Care Professionals to its
Third Palliative Care Conference
"Palliative Care, more than just Cancer Care"
On Sunday 20th October 2013
Venue:The Ballroom, Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre,
Lady Young Road, Port-of-Spain
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m
Fee (includes lunch): Doctors $350, Nurses, Allied Health Professionals &
Members of the Public $200, Medical Students $100
Limited Places Available!!!
North/West: Mr. S. Seemungal, Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Ave., Port-of-Spain. Tel: 625-3847
North/East: (Weds and Fridays only) Dr. K. Cox, 91 Eastern Main Road, St Augustine, Tel: 662-3542
South: Dr. S. Chamely, 5 Queen St., King's Wharf, San Fernando. Tel: 652-3555
For more information, please contact:
Mr. S. Seemungal: SATYS@TSTT.NET.TT or Dr.K. Cox: KCOXSEIG@YAHOO.COM
Registration forms can be faxed to 625-3847 or e-mailed to the addresses above.
Please make cheques payable to the Palliative Care Society of Trinidad & Tobago.
Directors: Mr. Satyernand (Saty) Seemungal Barrister-at-Law (President);
Prof. Terence Seemungal (Vice President), Dr. Karen Cox (Secretary), Mr. Nigel Aqui (Treasurer),
Mrs. Sylvia C. Seemungal, Dr. Kavi Capildeo, Dr. Jacqueline Sabga, Dr. Richard Clerk,
Mr. Leslie Harripaul, Dr. Dylan Narinesingh, Dr. Ravindra Maharaj, Ms. Camille Hyatali.
Advertisement Courtesy Tropikist Beach Hotel & Resort Ltd.
Karen Frank - Registered Nurse, TRHA
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and
support hospice and palliative care around the world. Inaccurate information about
hospice and palliative care creates barriers to access that are unnecessary and lead
to greater suffering. The Palliative Care Society of Trinidad and Tobago would like
to dispel these unhelpful myths and promote the facts.
Although the Society has made some progress, there is still much more to be done
to ensure that our people have proper access to hospice and palliative care.
We join the World Hospice and Palliative Care, the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance
and its global partners as we focus on "dispelling the myths," and encouraging people
to promote the facts about hospice and palliative care.
This year's theme is 'Achieving universal coverage of palliative care: Dispelling the
myths'. The Society would like to dispel the following inaccurate perceptions:
MYTH: Having hospice and palliative care means you will die soon.
FAC T: Hospice and palliative care are not just for the end of life. They represent a ho-
listic approach that includes caregiver support, spiritual care, bereavement and much
MYTH: Hospice and palliative care are just for people with cancer.
FACT: All those who are diagnosed with a chronic life-limiting illness can benefit
from hospice and palliative care.
MYTH: Palliative care only manages pain through the use of addictive narcotics.
FACT: Palliative care is whole person care that provides psychosocial and spiritual
care along with pain and symptom management.
The Palliative Care Society of Trinidad and Tobago believes that hospice and pallia-
tive care are essential for any national health care system to fully care for those with
the most serious chronic illnesses. Palliative care is for all persons with limited life ex-
pectancy no matter what their disease or age. Palliative care is safe, effective and pro-
motes dignity, comfort, and support.
In celebration of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2013, the Palliative Care Soci-
ety of Trinidad and Tobago, advocates, patients and carers are unified in calling for ur-
gent action from the government, the private sector, and civil society to improve access
to palliative care for people with life-limiting conditions by integrating palliative care
into existing services.
In addition to better integration of hospice and palliative care into health care, the
Palliative Care Society of Trinidad and Tobago along with global hospice and palliative
care community is stressing the need for:
• More training for health professionals and carers;
• Improved access to pain and symptom management medications;
• The inclusion of hospice and palliative care into existing health policies;
• Opportunities for older people to be involved in decisions around their care.
The Palliative Care Society of Trinidad and Tobago is
pleased to join with societies and other bodies to cele-
brate World Palliative care day and to lend our support
to practitioners around the world. World Palliative Care
Day takes place on the second Saturday of October
each year. The aims of this day are to:
(A) Share our vision to increase the availability of pallia-
tive care throughout the world by creating opportuni-
ties to speak out about the issues.
(B) To raise awareness and understanding of the needs --
medical, social, practical, spiritual of people living with
life limiting illnessess and their families.
(C) To raise funds to support and develop palliative care
services around the world.
The Palliative Care Society of Trinidad and Tobago is a
new society having been incorporated as a not-for-profit
society in 2011 by a group consisting of persons whose
desire is to promote palliative care in Trinidad and Tobago.
During its short life the Society has held two conferences
and a third will be held on October 20th 2013 at the
Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre. In addition we
have had two workshops and also in collaboration with
the University of Toronto initiated with the support of the
Faculty of Medical Services a Msc programme at the Uni-
versity of the West Indies. The Society's vision is to make
palliative care easily and readily available to persons with
end-of-life illnessess and their families, as the Society
firmly believes that to be able to access quality end-of-life
care is no longer a privilege but a basic human right. It is
no longer acceptable that a human being suffering from
end-of-life illnessess be not offered the opportunities to
enjoy the best quality of life possible when at the stage
where treatment emphasises quality of life rather than
One of the main goals of palliative care is the manage-
ment of pain and distress of persons living with life limit-
ing illnesses, yet because of the unavailability of proper
care, millions of people live and suffer with terrible pains.
Living with pain is unacceptable, dying in distress is un-
thinkable, having regard to the number of low cost pain
killing drugs which could be made available to such per-
sons. The society would like to urge the authorities re-
sponsible for providing such drugs to invest in palliative
care by ensuring that these essential drugs are available
to all in need of such medication. We urge you to re-visit
the laws dealing with the importation and use of narcotics
as these laws are ancient.
In conclusion we express our hope that the availability
of palliative care will become the norm rather than the ex-
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