FCS rolls out palliative care trainings for community health workers and nurses

The Fiji Cancer Society (FCS) commenced its Community Palliative Care Project (CPCP) trainings with health care workers and zone nurses in March this year. The trainings aim to equip participants with the required knowledge and skills to look after palliative care patients.

Trainings have been conducted with community health workers and zone nurses in Tailevu between March and April, in Rewa in May, and in Serua/Namosi Subdivision in June, over a two-week period in each location. Altogether, 34 community health workers and six zone nurses have undergone training.

Evaluations from the three trainings showed that 100% of the participants agreed that the content of the training is applicable to the work they do at the village level; 100% of the participants agreed the instructions and information given in the training manual was easy to understand; 100% of the participants agreed that they understood the notes in the training manual, and that they were able to follow all the steps given in the competency manual. Over 83% felt confident about applying knowledge and skills learnt from the training.

“We noticed that some of our Community Health Workers lack professional training, working conditions, as well as lack the resources to carry out their responsibilities. In providing this workshop, they have shown interest and the passion to look after patients who are not able to mobilise themselves,” Community Palliative Care Program Facilitator, Sr Rosini Ravono said.

“We hope to finish the CPCP training for the central division and also a graduation ceremony for the zone nurses and Community Health Workers,” she added.

Serua/Namosi Community Health worker, Ms Loame Lewenibure shared her appreciation of the learnings from the training, and plans to share her learnings with her community.

“This is my 10th year of working as a community health worker in the village of Nabukavesi, Namosi. Some of the important lessons learnt from the training includes making an unoccupied bed and an occupied bed, helping the adult to eat, personal hygiene, and simple wound dressing if the patient is bedridden,” she said.

“I will share knowledge learnt to my community about cancer, palliative care, symptoms that I need to look out for, inspiring hope, faith, and trust in the patient and the family members and referral pathways,” she added.

FCS focuses on health and wellness, early detection and prevention supported by strategic partnerships to be able to reduce the impact of cancer.

FCS’s Community Palliative Care Project is implemented through a Sustainability Grant from Women’s Fund Fiji.

In Fiji, most female cancer patients and survivors, including newly diagnosed cancer patients go through immense stress and social issues such as loss of self-esteem, stigma, emotional, and psychosocial crises, and with health care providers already overloaded by providing clinical services, there is a lack of supportive care which is crucial towards the patient’s pathway to holistic recovery and longevity.

The Community Palliative Care Project therefore was introduced to address the lack of support for female palliative cancer patients. The project aims to improve the quality of life for palliative patients in terms of optimal pain/suffering management, emotional and general support by providing holistic and integrative care palliative.

FCS works closely with the TISI Sangam College of Nursing for the rollout of trainings and works in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Sangam College of Nursing on the development of training resources, materials are from the Sangam College of Nursing.

Future palliative care trainings are planned for Naitasiri, Suva, and Nasinu later in the year.