Over three days from 4 to 6 July 2013, we attended a seminar on palliative care organised by Fei Yue Community Services. The trainer was a champion of Palliative Care movement in Taiwan, Professor (Dr) Chao Co Shi of National Cheng Kung University Medical College. She had with her two staff nurses to speak in parts of the seminar. You can see Prof Chao in a short film titled: After Cicely: www.aftercicely.com/
650 participants turned up at Harvest Care Centre. I noticed that female dominates in participation of such event. It is in their nature to care for the living and the sick, so this did not come as a surprise. The seminar was also attended by few members of religious communities regardless of affiliation. Palliative care cuts across all religions, as acknowledged by the speaker who is a Roman Catholic.
The seminar was conducted entirely in Mandarin. Parts of it were on-stage demonstrations on how to care for “patients” on hospital bed.
Some take-aways from this seminar for me
1. It is never too early to learn about palliative care. You will never know when you need this kind of knowledge.
2. Carer needs huge dose of empathy and trainings to know what to say and what kind of non-verbal actions are suitable for palliative patients.
3. Moving palliative patients and cleaning them require proper training. If not, patients can suffer unnecessary pains and non-reversable damage to their body.
4. Palliative patients must be the center of focus in caring for them. Their comfort (physical and psychological) must be priority.
5. Appropriate dealing with family members is also important to encourage harmony between them and patient both before and after death.
Prof Chao was an excellent speaker. She used many real-life stories to illustrate each lesson. Most stories moved the audience to tears. Graphic images of suffering patients made me realised that wealth, fame, minor life obstacles are insignificant in face of pains and sufferings of palliative patients.