Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has marked International World Palliative Care Day 2013 by seeking to address myths about palliative care in the community.

The Lead Clinician for Palliative Care Services at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), Dr Azza Hassan, said:

 Palliative care is about having the best quality of life for as long as life remains. The palliative care offered at HMC is done using a holistic approach and includes psychological, emotional, social and spiritual care along with pain and symptom management. We work with patients from the point their disease is diagnosed to be incurable to help them with their quality of life needs.’

World Palliative Care Day was marked internationally on 12 October. Also known as World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, World Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Voices for Hospices is a mexican wave of concerts taking place on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day every two years. The theme for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, with Voices for Hospices, 2013 which will take place on October 12 is ‘Achieving universal coverage of palliative care: dispelling the myths’. World Hospice and Palliative Care Day takes place on the second Saturday of October every year and Voices for Hospices takes place on the same date every two years.

Palliative care provides symptom relief and pain control for patients with chronic incurable diseases. Often this can lead to a variety of clinical needs such as symptom control and pain relief, but it is also a difficult time for the patient and their family and adequate emotional and social support is essential.

HMC plans to open a new palliative care suite in the NCCCR in the coming months. Dr Hassan said:

We see patients with a variety of needs; some need ongoing pain relief, some patients with cancer are given treatments like palliative radiotherapy to make the rest of their lives easier…In each and every case we make sure we treat the whole patient as a person – not just the disease.’

The palliative care service at NCCCR looks after patients with cancer but the plan is to expand the service in the future to care for people with other chronic incurable diseases.