In 2020 during the crisis of COVID-19 pandemic on the eve of World Hospice Palliative Care Day 2020”, Hospice Bangladesh”, Aastha Foundation and World Child Cancer (WCC) jointly organized a series of virtual awareness program. In 2020, the proposed theme of this day is “Palliative Care: it’s “My Care, My Comfort”.

Hospice Bangladesh tried to celebrate the day to keep the restriction of mass gathering in this COVID-19 crisis. The program was designed for 3 days making into different segment.

This program is designed especially for doctors, nurses, volunteers, family care givers to encourage them, to motivate them as they play very important role in patient care.

On the grand occasion of World Hospice Palliative care Day 2020 with restricted number of Hospice officials and guests, the program had been started from Hospice premises on Saturday 10th October, 2020 and Dr. Sonali was the anchor of the program.

Hospice Bangladesh has been working in palliative care for 7 years. Hospice Bangladesh started this grand event with cutting a cake. Through the live program on YouTube and social media it introduced the palliative care team of Hospice Bangladesh with the viewers. 

Hospice Bangladesh team tirelessly is working to improve the quality of lives of palliative patients and their family members by giving care and comfort at home.

In a short interview of Farjana Akter, Head of Operations of Hospice Bangladesh said that before starting the 24/7 nursing service at home they discuss with the patient family member in a pre-setting that how their palliative care team shall be designed to provide best care to their patient to improve the quality of lives of patients till the End of service. Hospice Bangladesh is also providing 24/7 “Tele-medicine service” through the “Remote Patient Monitoring System” by introducing mobile application “Tele-hospice”. Mubashahera Jannat Bithi, Project Coordinator and Pharmacist explained that how they provide palliative care support through the apps for patients even outside of Dhaka. Syeda Parvez Khanam, Medical Social worker told regarding the bereavement support their team provides to a patient family after the death of patient. Dr. Sazia Afrin shared how she got inspired to work for palliative patients and their future plan about it. Dr. Shahinur Kabir, Founder and Palliative Care consultant of Hospice Bangladesh said that how he motivated and initiated 24/7 home based palliative care support for the first time in Bangladesh. He also told about the plan to start satellite center to provide palliative Care support at divisional and district level in Bangladesh. Specially he initiated the “Remote Patient Monitoring System” through “Tele-hospice” mobile apps to spread this support in every remote area of Bangladesh who need it. To make it available for all, Dr. Kabir also founded “ Aastha Foundation” to provide this support to low/middle income people with free of cost. Dr. Kabir is very optimistic about the development of palliative care in Bangladesh though still its progress is slow and majority people are not aware of palliative care service. 

In three day program,  Dr. Rifat Akter – president of Aastha Foundation organized an online session from USA on topic of  “Understanding Hospice Palliative care -Death, Dying and Grieving from cross cultural context”.  In this one hour session another two guest who were present- Mr. Desmond Dean Jones, Lecturer, Sociology, Criminology & Anthropology, University of Central Arkansas USA and Ms Shumi Siddique, oncology Registered Nurse Baltimore, Washington Medical Center, USA.

Dr. Rifat Akter initially talked on some point of regarding how culture have impact on different issues in palliative care. She also said very nicely that terminology difference of Hospice & Palliative care in different country sometimes affect the acceptance of this service. Mr Desmond Jones in his discussion emphasized on advance care planning in palliative care. He also told that through education and research we have to create environment & accept death. Ms Shumi Siddique, also explained how advance care planning in palliative care also help medical professionals regarding care & decision making issues for critical patients at last stage. She also told that hospice is not ending; it’s beginning to ensure dignifying death at home. Dr. Rifat Akter also said discussed about the effect of cultural issues in pain management specially using morphine. At last she told that it is not possible to care without ignoring cultural issues to give best care and comfort to the patients.

There was also a musical event which was live to entertain the viewers.

We hope all viewers enjoyed the arrangements and through the program people can learn more about different aspects of palliative care.