At CEML, nurse Irene Westendorp had observed a need. Patients who had been diagnosed with terminal illnesses were often discharged to face the world alone. Should those patients come back to CEML with more questions it would cost them the price of a consult and take up the time of one of CEML’s doctors, despite palliative care offering solutions which nurses can provide. Irene hoped to change this situation.
Conferring with the nursing staff at CEML helped Irene grasp the issues facing patients with terminal illnesses and identify the needs of those patients. With financial support from generous donors and CEML’s mission partner SIM, Irene built the palliative care team and began offering support to discharged patients in their homes.
Previously, it seemed as though palliative care was only available to those patients who already had a nurse in their family. The palliative care team has had to slowly gain the trust of patients who are unfamiliar with this service. But in time, they have enjoyed many visits with patients, supplying pain management through pharmaceuticals and spiritual counselling through prayer. “Many times they say it’s good to know you’re there,” Irene said, “that we can pray together.”
One patient of the palliative care team referred a family member to CEML. “That was really encouraging,” Irene enthused, “I hope that will happen more often!” Dr. Steve Foster hopes the actions of the palliative care team will help make available more effective pain management for patients in Lubango and elsewhere.
Offering financial support to the palliative care team will help keep this caring ministry operating. The team would appreciate sufficient funding to afford medications for patients as well as mattresses and wheelchairs.
Learn more about the CEML Palliative Care Team here.
Closely linked to palliative care is the treatment of patients with chronic conditions; if you feel called to serve God by helping those with chronic conditions, please contact us.