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Oct 242011
 

COMMUNICATION, INFORMATION, AND HELP

Patients who have a terminal illness need to express their worries, fears, doubts to someone who knows how to listen, so that they can adapt to their situation and understand what is happening to them gradually and at their own pace.

Communication is an essential, therapeutic tool and one of the basic instruments in palliative care. The main objective is to understand how the illness is affecting the patient so that he/she can be helped in the process to adapt to their new reality, with sincerity, and respecting the patient´s autonomy. This helps to increase the patient´s level of satisfaction, relieve stress, and improve the quality of life, offering mutual trust and security.

Communication is also important in caring for the family. A family who receives clear information, health advice, evaluation, and the correct emotional support, apart from reducing stress, carries out their role as carers more efficiently.

THE TRUTH:            TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL

The truth is a process. Telling the truth is not incompatible with hope and it supports the principle to respect the autonomy of the patient.  Equally, patients have the right not to be informed if they so wish (10% of patients do not want to speak about their illness and do not want any information).

Dra. Sara Martínez Membrilla

 Posted by at 7:55 pm
Oct 122011
 

Uniting Communities

Yesterday a Fun Afternoon was held in Fuente de Piedra to raise funds for Asociación Girasol.

The event started at6.00pm, but due to other commitments I arrived at a quarter past seven. I couldn´t believe what I saw! What an atmosphere! The Plaza de la Constitución was full of kids having a really great time: little faces painted as: spiderman, princesses, lions, and everything imaginable….and the games…. the jumping pigs, fishing a duck, catch the rat, and the one-armed bandit (hilarious), walk the tightrope and many others. I met a little 3 year old friend and we attempted musical chairs, but she abandoned me within a short time. I don´t think I was quite up to her standard!

Before I arrived, the tombola was sold out, and there were only a few home-made cakes left. I will never forget the face of the little boy who by guessing the right football team won a football.

Seeing all of this made me realise that Asociación Girasol, apart from helping terminally ill cancer patients, their families and carers, is uniting communities, and that is very, very, very, nice.

We want to thank all the Friends of Asociación Girsasol who organised the event and all of you who attended. It was a great afternoon.

Cath Groome

 Posted by at 9:02 pm
Oct 092011
 

Today, 8th October is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who support Asociación Girasol here in the northern part ofAntequera,Spain: Alameda, Fuente de Piedra, Humilladero, and Mollina, for the fantastic work you are doing.

We send a big hug to our colleagues: Cudeca who are representingSpainin “Voices for Hospices 2011”

And I would like to tell you about a wonderful thing that happened today. I received a call from one of our supporters saying that she had remembered that it was World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, and she wanted to give us something that her daughter had made to sell to raise funds for our cause. She arrived on my doorstep with a bag of lovely, hand-made rings: pure craftsmanship: all different, and beautiful, and they will be in our stall at Saydo, next week.

I cannot express the gratitude I feel for this day. We appreciate the voluntary work done by all, and above all, we remember our loved ones and carers

Kid’s Fun Day

 Events  Comments Off on Kid’s Fun Day
Sep 292011
 

 
Uniting Communities

Yesterday a Fun Afternoon was held in Fuente de Piedra to raise funds for Asociación Girasol.

The event started at 6.00pm, but due to other commitments I arrived at a quarter past seven. I couldn´t believe what I saw! What an atmosphere! The Plaza de la Constitución was full of kids having a really great time: little faces painted as: spiderman, princesses, lions, and everything imaginable….and the games…. the jumping pigs, fishing a duck, catch the rat, and the one-armed bandit (hilarious), walk the tightrope and many others. I met a little 3 year old friend and we attempted musical chairs, but she abandoned me within a short time. I don´t think I was quite up to her standard!

Before I arrived, the tombola was sold out, and there were only a few home-made cakes left. I will never forget the face of the little boy who, by guessing the right football team, won a football.

Seeing all of this made me realise that Asociación Girasol, apart from helping terminally ill cancer patients, their families and carers, is uniting communities, and that is very, very, very, nice.

We want to thank all the Friends of Asociación Girsasol who organised the event and all of you who attended. It was a great afternoon.

Cath Groome

 Posted by at 1:28 pm
Aug 072011
 

Spirituality tends to reduce the fear of death.

The volunteer should listen openly to any request that the patient may have, help to resolve outstanding matters, reconcile situations and reach forgiveness, help him/her to say goodbye, and ensure the patient has total freedom of expression regardless of his/her religious beliefs whatever they may be.

The time draws closer, we still have two days: the first day to meet with the those who we have hated and the second to meet with those we have loved. To some, we will ask forgiveness for our hatred, and to others Love. In this way we will lighten both weights and can move forward unburdened to the frontier” (Rafael Argullol)

Aug 042011
 

What is palliative care?

Palliative care includes a wide range of needs which are specific to the individual. The physical and emotional effects of cancer vary from person to person and depend upon such factors as: age, cultural background, available support systems which mean that the palliative care given will differ.

Palliative care takes into account the following:

Physical needs: the most common physical symptoms include: pain, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, sickness, difficulty in breathing and insomnia. Many of these symptoms can be relieved by medication or by other methods: diet, physiotherapy, deep-breathing exercises. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery can reduce tumours which are causing pain and other problems.

Emotional needs: palliative care specialists can provide resources to help patients and families confront the emotions which accompany cancer diagnosis or treatment. Depression, anxiety, and fear are only a few of the worries that can be relieved through palliative care. Specialists can evaluate, recommend support groups, family get-togethers, or make referrals to the mental health specialists.

Practical needs: Cancer patients can experience financial and legal problems, may have questions about insurance, or fear for their jobs. For many patients and family members technical and legal language and forms are difficult to understand. To lighten the burden the palliative care team can help to coordinate the appropriate services. For example: the team can direct patients and their families to the where they can obtain help with finances, to understand medical forms or legal matters, local or national resources such as help with transport, or housing.

Spiritual needs: With a cancer diagnosis patients and families usually seek the meaning of life more profoundly. Some people find the experience deepens their faith, others question it trying to understand why cancer has happened to them. A palliative care expert can help people explore their beliefs and values and find peace or acceptance of their situation.

Aug 022011
 

The Patient and Family Unit

The patient, friends, and family unit is fundamental for palliative care. It is not easy for any person to confront the situation that their loved one needs more of their care. Continuous support is a great help to any family: help in the home and emotional help.

The support and help offered to families, carers, and friends should start as soon as the illness is diagnosed which is one of the most stressful moments, and  continue post bereavement when family, friends, and carers feel most alone but appear fine.

Active listening is a useful tool which allows emotions, and needs to be expressed, and hope to be maintained. This is not believing in that a cure can be found but reinforces the positive attitudes of family members, carers and friends.

Dra. Sara Martinez Membrilla

Jul 262011
 

To talk about death is essential for good palliative care.

The factor that helps us most to die in peace is to be able to feel close to, to communicate with, and to have a tight bond with our loved ones, that means, being able to express our feelings and to feel loved.

It is possible to have a good death when an atmosphere of adequate communication between the patient and those who care for him/her exists, if the patient knows about, and participates in his/her treatment, if painful symptoms are relieved, and if the family does not feel alone and receives social as well as medical support.

Jul 242011
 

Why  palliative care?

Clinical evidence shows us doctors, what we have done badly and what we have done well in our clinical practice, and thanks to that we are able to establish the systems to follow with our patients. That group of patients who have a terminal illness that ends in painful death,  and their families who suffer in so many different ways, have been cared for by well intentioned people and doctors who, in silence, have dedicated themselves to relieve the suffering and have done their best to improve the quality of life of these patients. For years this care has been the responsibility of professional health teams supported by charities.

Who would question that we can all do palliative care? A great friend, believer in palliative care, showed me that everyone is capable of offering palliative care. It all depends on awareness and commitment.

Dra. Sara Martinez Membrilla