Case Study: Palliative Care Training Project by Madalena Fernandes Hanjam

Small Grants

Palliative care is care for patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families. It is also one of the activities of tertiary care that are integrated with the Ministry of Health National Strategic plan for 2030. However, there are still a huge number of families and care givers in Timor-Leste that have insufficient knowledge and experience in implementing palliative care to those in need.

Australia Awards Alumni Madalena Fernades Hanjam who studied Bachelor of Nursing at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) is determined to provide professional development training on palliative care to nurses and medical doctors through the small grant fund. Small Grants are one of the alumni engagement activities under Australia Awards Timor-Leste Program. The fund is aimed to provide unique opportunities for alumni to use their skills and experience in practical ways to contribute to the development of Timor-Leste.

This palliative care training is part of the consultancy activity that aims to provide a refreshing training on capacity building for health professionals to improve the quality of life for patients who are suffering from chronic, advance and terminal diagnoses using proper manners.

Direct beneficiaries of this small grants project were 80 participants ranging from health professionals to care givers who attended and gained knowledge from this training. It has helped them with raising awareness of the importance of palliative care, it has also enhanced their knowledge in providing palliative care services, improved their understanding of access to specific medicine or drugs and pain management.

Training participants identified some of the new skills and knowledge that they gained from the training including coordination of treatment for palliative patients, appropriate tips of helping elderly people to consume appropriate medicine, lifting techniques and moving the patients including bathing and feeding them. Participants found the workshop interesting, and the information shared by the presenters was well received.

One of the beneficiaries who attended the training, mana Iveti da Cunha Leite, said “I had learned from a book on what to do when noticing any death signs in patients. This palliative care training taught us how to dress the patients and help to feed them including controlling their meals, and how treat the patients correctly.”

During the monitoring and evaluation interview with the participants, beneficiaries revealed that the training brought some changes in the way they provide palliative care. Some of these changes include the increase of frequency for visiting the patients, using soft cloth to move the patients around and improving communication and interaction skills with the patients.

As a result of conducting this training, patients are treated much better compared to before. Service delivery has improved and good relationships between patients and health professionals as well as the care givers.

Alumni Madalena Fernandes Hanjam’s project is an example of how Australia Awards Alumni are using their skills and experience to promote equality and help develop their country. And for Madalena the project is to ensure that health professionals and care givers gain enough knowledge and skills to act in helping those who are in need.