Oman Palliative Care
The Oman Palliative Care Seminar was opened by the Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al-Saidi, with key note speaker Professor Richard Harding from the Centre for Global Health Palliative Care, Cicely Saunders Institute, King's College, London. Palliative care improves the quality of life for patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing the challenges associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering, through correct assessment of pain and other problems and enables patients and families to maintain the best quality of life, whatever the diagnosis, by providing expert practical care along with emotional support. In Oman, palliative care is still in its infancy and consequently many acute hospital beds are blocked by patents who would benefit from this specialized form of care with its many advantages. Unblocking expensive acute beds in hospitals in the Sultanate would enable them to work more efficiently and be more cost effective whilst at the same time improving the quality of life for palliative care patients.
The Oman Cancer Association has recently funded the training of 180 nurses for palliative care in the community which enables patients to be cared for in their own homes and more training is planned. The Oncology Department at the Royal Hospital is spearheading this community care approach.
There are many aspects to palliative care, including changes in legislation to allow people to be treated in their own homes. There is also the work of raising awareness within the community which is one of the goals of this seminar.