The Chamber of Deputies signed into law the bill that ensures patient access to comprehensive benefits on palliative care in the public, private and social security spheres, and accompanying their families. The initiative will provide support to patients and families with progressive and terminal chronic illnesses, it was approved by a large majority: 218 affirmative votes and one negative.
Palliative Care has existed in Argentina for decades, but the health system does not have enough health teams devoted to the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease, neurological and/or chronic respiratory diseases, among others.
In the world, only one 12% of people who require palliative care access them. In Argentina, the percentage is even lower: estimates from the Argentine Association of Medicine and Palliative Care (AAMyCP) show that in the country access is less than 5 percent.
“This morning the political leadership has put aside the crack and has turned into law something that does transform people’s lives, that does bring well-being and relief to health problems that are difficult to solve, that does accompany families in the course of these non-curable pathologies and that deeply supports all medical specialties in the health field when healing instances run out,” said Dr. Jorge Dureaume (MN 104043), Head of Palliative Care at Sanatorio Güemes, in dialogue with Infobae.
When medicine cannot cure, the most pressing thing is to alleviate, accompany. But for this, it is important to have the right tools and personnel, with training and fundamentally empathy, capable of being available and accessible in all areas of health. “Being outstretched hands, relieving, accompanying, providing support to the family nucleus, are the tasks that should always be in the first place in the task of assisting patients, forming multidisciplinary teams that contain the medical quality that our country has always known how to generate.”, added the expert.
Palliative care is based on three pillars: proper control of symptoms, proper handling of information, and creative accompaniment. They thus form a model of care that improves the quality of life of patients and their familiesthrough the prevention and control of suffering that is possible through the early identification, evaluation and adequate treatment of pain, as well as other physical, psycho-social and spiritual problems.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of adults requiring palliative care suffer from cardiovascular diseases (38.5%), cancer (34%), chronic respiratory conditions (10.3%), HIV/ AIDS (5.7%) and diabetes (4.6%).
“Congress has transformed into law the way to provide health to the population with the implementation of the necessary support not only for patients suffering from distressing symptoms, but also for other medical specialties that exhaust their healing instances and cease to have significant action. in the process of health disease of individualsDureaume said.
Other conditions that may require palliative care include: kidney failure, chronic liver disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neurological disease, dementia, birth defects, and drug-resistant tuberculosis.
But in order to provide adequate palliative care to patients who need it, It is necessary to take into account the patient’s environment, and how it conditions their well-being and the evolution of the disease. It is known that psychosocial aspects are a crucial factor in the development of the pathology and determine the provision of palliative care in all its areas. Therefore, to know how to interact with the different psychosocial aspects that accompany the patient, the training of medical professionals is essential.
“There is still a lot to do, this is just starting; The next step in this process will be team building and human resources enough to reach every corner of the country. For this, universities and training centers must implement this chapter in their health career programs, which is still absent in the highest levels of training that can be achieved,” said the specialist, emphasizing the regulation of the law: “The most important leg will be the training of human resources. Where will staff be trained? Who will train him? when you train as a doctor they never tell you that death is a possibility, for which you have to be prepared”.
As of today, Argentina has a National Palliative Care Law, a law that promotes assistance and care as the most appropriate way to provide relief to patients and their families. Few countries in the world have regulations that support this level of assistance. “We are making history and in this history everyone is taken into account, starting first with those who sufferDureaume concluded.