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Palliative Care for Healthcare Professionals


Palliative Care is a medical approach that aims to improve the quality of life of patients with life-threatening illness and support their families. In palliative medicine the focus is on the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, be they physical, psychosocial or spiritual.

Our Activities

Patient care

Our philosophy is to utilize an interdisciplinary team approach to support patients and their families and encourage them to make informed decisions about their medical care that are in line with their values and belief system. We aim to prevent and relieve suffering and help patients maintain the best possible quality of life despite their illness. In addition to medical care, we provide emotional, social, spiritual and practical support and counseling. We are available to our patients and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provide medical care by physicians and nurses who are trained in palliative care. We also provide equipment such as hospital beds, water or air mattresses, and wheelchairs. Our services are provided at no cost to the patient. Referring physicians can remain involved in the care of their patients to the extent that they wish to do so.

Advocacy

We are working to promote palliative care both at the community as well as at the policy level. We aim to increase awareness about the philosophy and practice of palliative care as an alternative approach to illness, death, and dying. We do this through organization of and participation in national and international conferences.

We also aim to work with legislators and policy makers to establish a national strategy for the development of palliative care. This includes changing laws that act as barriers to the provision of palliative care in Lebanon (such as the laws restricting use of essential pain medications), as well as advocating to have Palliative Care recognized as a medical specialty.

Capacity Building

We believe in making palliative care available to all people in Lebanon. To that end, we aim to create training opportunities in palliative care for health care professionals throughout Lebanon so that they may become providers of palliative care in their communities. We are working in collaboration with other organizations and educational institutions to provide conferences, courses, and workshops to train healthcare providers in palliative care. We also hope to assist health care teams providing palliative care throughout Lebanon by serving as a source of information and technical support.

Research

Scientific information on palliative care remains limited. Providers of palliative care can help advance the field by contributing to the current knowledge base. We plan on contributing to scientific and practical research in palliative care by sharing our experiences and outcomes. Although we are not actively engaged in research at this stage, we are working to develop a database and links with researchers in the field of palliative care.

Referral Process

Criteria for Intake

1. Patients with a life-limiting illness who are unlikely to recover

2. Goal of treatment focuses on palliative and not curative care

3. Suffering from severe and uncontrolled symptoms due to the illness or its treatment (e.g., shortness of breath, fatigue, pain, severe weakness, and activity intolerance)

4. Limited life expectancy

5. Patient/family consent to care, and understand the implications of the shift from curative to palliative care measures

6. Preference by the patient to remain in his/her home for palliative care (this does not exclude necessary hospitalization)

7. Palliative care at home is offered by Balsam to all patients with life-limiting illnesses without regard to diagnosis, gender, age, nationality, disability, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or ability to pay

If you would like to request care online, please complete the online referral request form as accurately as you are able to. Please leave your contact information so that a Balsam team member can communicate with you to obtain further information if necessary. Please allow up to 48 hrs for a response. If you would like to communicate with us urgently, please contact us on Tel/Fax: 009611-748574.

Online Request Form





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