Being able to support a loved one through a terminal illness is not an easy task.
It requires patience, a strong support system and proper training and advice on how to provide a safe and comfortable environment.
The Fiji Cancer Society is currently developing resources with specialists from the oncology unit at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital to empower communities and families to assist their family members who have little or no prospect of further treatment, and for whom the primary goal is to optimise the quality of life.
The resources intend to teach techniques, advice and support to help patients feel comfortable and to assist with pain management.
According to FCS Chief Executive Officer Belinda Chan, the resources have been designed in consultation with the Ministry of Health and draws from other materials published by the World Health Organisation.
“The resources have been tailored to a Fijian context and can be broadly used by anyone caring for patients with late-stage lung and kidney disease, heart failure, strokes and neuron motor disease. The resources will cover all aspects of care including personal care, pain management, administering medication, dietary requirements, and companionship care,” said Ms. Chan.
Ms. Chan says they also intend to provide psychosocial and emotional support through partner organisations for those who are still coming to terms with caring for terminally ill family and community members.
The resources have been funded by the Australian Government through the Fiji Women’s Fund.
Annually around 250 – 300 people are diagnosed with cancer in Fiji.