Irena Laska

Irena Laska

Shoqata Kujdesi Shendetesor Familjar and F.S. Noli University, Korce





The impact of terminal diseases on family members

In Albania, palliative care (PC) is is a relatively new service and is offered only by NGOs. PC in Albania is provided only to cancer patients. Since last year, with the initiative of Albania Palliative Care Association (APCA), Ministry of Health and with the support of foreign experts, new palliative care units have been set up in several regional hospitals in Albania. PC in Albania consists mostly of home care. The only inpatient service (daily hospice) is located in southeast Albania. This service is provided by the Mary Potter PC team, which I am a member of.
Most of the patients in Albania prefer to receive care and die at home. The family members are the persons who take care of them. While providing care to the patients we have observed that their family members show a number of psycho-social and spiritual problems. The PC service is provided only for the patients and their family members have no possibility to address their psycho-social and spiritual problems. PC ends with the patient’s death and bereavement care is not available either.

Raising awareness of health professionals and health institutions on psycho-social and spiritual needs of family members of terminal patients and establish spiritual care as a new service in palliative care. The implementation of this project intends to figure out the psycho-social and spiritual needs of family members. Aims in detail are to identify the psycho-social and spiritual needs of family members, to do lobbing and advocacy for addressing these needs, to set up new services for family members of terminal patients.

Methods An assessment on psycho-social and spiritual needs for family members of terminally ill patients will be conducted, by collecting 100 questionnaires.

100 questionnaires will be distributed to 100 family members to assess their needs, new services would be provided by palliative care teams for family members such as Respite Care, Spiritual care, Psycho-social care and bereavement care. The results of this need assessment will be used for lobbing and advocacy. The results of this need assessment will be presented in PC national activities such as workshops and conferences, international PC activities and we will try to publish these results in the Journal of EAPC.