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Cherkassy Regional Oncology Hospital and Center of Palliative Care

06 November 2017

In September 2017, the “Cherkassy regional oncological clinic”, a municipal institution, began its work as a new subdivision; a pilot project called, The Regional Center of Palliative Care. Talks about opening such a center have been going on for at least 20 years, yet despite this, the Center began its operations without any fanfare.

Statistics indicate that every year throughout our region, about 2 000 new patients with oncological diseases require special palliative, and in some cases specialized hospice, care. There are also about 15-18 children among these patients. Until recently, providing such care was very limited, because the institution was overburdened by the many subdivisions of the oncological clinic. Most especially, there were serious problems with the organization of palliative-hospice care for children suffering oncological diseases.

It’s not a secret that even now, first, second, and often third-level institutions often refuse to help children with terminal oncological diseases, because of their professional and moral unreadyness to deal with these patients. This is often the case, even when these institutions have the best facilities and conditions to treat these patients. But now, in our region, thanks to the new Regional Center of Palliative Care, patients and their relatives could count on specialized professional care without any limitations.

[Today], The Regional Center of Palliative Care is still operating as a pilot project, because it does not have proper financing. The center began its work in the middle of budget year, so until 2018, it has to operate with the monetary funds budgeted for a clinic. According to the institution’s administration, based on an evaluation of current financing, even with the active support of regional authorities, renovation and equipment costs for the Center could only be paid for after two years.

The Regional Center of Palliative Care began its operations when one the Center’s buildings, belonging to another medical institution, was given to the “Cherkasy Regional Oncological Clinic”.  On that building’s 200 square meter territory, efforts were made to provide the necessary conditions for the Center to be able to provide palliative and hospice care both for adults and children. According to the “Regional program of development of palliative care for the years 2015-2020”, which was confirmed by the Cherkasy Regional Council on 28.08.2015, planned funding of the Center was slated for a 50 bed operation. In the initial stages, because of a serious lack of finances, a decision was made to provide only 10 beds, for relatives and friends of patients and for the day and night work of the medical staff. At least two of the 10 beds were earmarked for the needs of children.

The creation of the Regional Center of Palliative Care in a building that was not equipped for such a purpose raised many technical issues. In the beginning, the Center had equipment in rooms and places of common use. It also had floors without properly equipped barriers. It did not have powerful ventilation, nor did it have the equipment necessary to create sanitary rooms, such as ICU’s. Most importantly, the center is situated in a three-floor building, yet lifts and elevators were absent. Right now, a group of designers and architects are working to refit the building for the needs of the Center. Construction work has already begun with the creation of wheelchair ramps and there are plans to equip the building with elevators, electrical ramps and separate sanitary rooms.

Among many other first-priority goals is to alleviate the work of personnel that take care of patients that have mobility problems. This includes providing special mechanized beds with electric drive, special vehicles, etc. Plans also include the acquisition of oxygen concentrators for all patients that require oxygen support. Right now, two such machines are already operational at the Center.

There are also plans to create a mental health support network for patients and their families and also for the medical staff.

To provide personal and group psychological support for patients and their families requires professional psychologists, a great need that is absent in this medical institution. Currently, the Center counts on the support [for this work] from volunteer organizations and patients’ associations.

To provide for the legal, economic and spiritual needs of palliative care patients and their families, the Center plans to invite competent specialists to help with these specialized care needs. Plans are also under way to construct a special space for the private moments of patients and their families, such as family parties and commemorations. Included in these plans is the creation of a green house, for patients to work and develop their emotional well-being.

In the future, the Center plans to make available a phone “hotline” for medical staff that provide palliative-hospice care in this region, and space for visiting multidisciplinary teams that offer specialized assistance for palliative patients who receive medical treatment in other medical institutions or at home.

However, financing the Center is still a significant challenge. Buying specialized medical furniture and equipment requires serious financing, which has not been provided for in 2017. The center is waiting for the approval of a budget for construction-renovation work, as well as for a budget for staffing in 2018.

Despite the very real challenges it faces, The Regional Centre of Palliative Care, has been embraced with enthusiasm by the administration of the oncological clinic and there is strong support from various regional officials and volunteer organizations. The Center is also waiting for the arrival of humanitarian aid from Germany (medical furniture). Efforts are also being made to acquire other private sources of support. 

The administration of the Cherkasy regional council is hoping that by drawing the attention of the public and the media to the Center’s work, it would encourage local and regional stakeholders to support the financial needs of the Center. The Center’s openness for fellowship guarantees the transparent and targeted use of received material and non-material resources. Ultimately, by participating in the foundational creation of a palliative care system, which is unquestionably the apex of a developed and humane community, everyone could feel themselves being one step closer to a European Ukraine, which we are all building together.   

Contact information:

Municipal institution – “Cherkasy regional oncological clinic”, Cherkasy regional council.

Mendeleyev str., 7, Cherkasy city, 18009, tel./fax: (0472) 37 01 23

E-mail: kanc@onko.ck.ua

Head doctor: Paramonov Victor Volodymirovich 

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