When Relieving Suffering Means Removing Legal Burdens

Patients with with life-limiting illnesses experience emotional distress not just from physical pain. Pressing concerns can include the future of their property, access to health services and social benefits, care of their children, patient confidentiality, and how much freedom they will have to choose their treatment.

Addressing these legal concerns is part of palliative care’s holistic approach. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life for these patients and families by relieving suffering through physical, spiritual, and psychosocial support.

That’s why the Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) began training health care providers to become paralegals. It empowers them to identify legal issues, give basic legal advice—like how to draft a will or establish power of attorney—and refer more complicated cases to pro-bono lawyers.

KEHPCA has now trained over 300 paralegals and established a pro-bono network of attorneys with relevant expertise. The organization also developed a series of informational pamphlets that cover how to draft a will, patients’ rights, and power of attorney.

In the video above, Nyeri Hospice shows how legal services can be integrated into care for patients and their families, both at the hospice and at home. Pro-bono attorneys run legal aid clinics at the hospice and follow up with patients on a personal basis as needed. And Nyeri’s health care providers include legal assessment as a component of care when visiting a patient at home.

Addressing the legal needs of patients and families offers peace of mind. This in turn improves health and well-being. Human dignity, in illness and at the end of life, must remain at the center. 

9 Comments

Legal aspects in palliative care is one of the key element to improve quality of life for these patients and families. Health workers and other legal fraternity need to be aware of this.

Hospice care and palliative care are so important, more so now as people all around the world are now living longer. Hospice and palliative care helps people live and die with dignity and comfort. This is a wonderful story that I hope to see more of. As a photographer, I appreciate the quality of work and the story. As a person, I feel the emotion.

it can be a truth story it alway happen in my country,as for me i am to be careful.but God is going to show than out oneday................

Thank you for reminding us that despite the daily struggle for life, economic development and social justice there are moments to stand still and see this last part of life through the eyes of those that already reached it. Good palliative care is a sign of an enlightened community.

Congratulations on producing such a sensitive and wonderful video about palliative care.. I will be showing it to my students who are studying palliative care.

Thank you - Colette (Ireland)

This is a wonderful service, that can be replicated country-wide. continue to support this initiative, which brings dignity to death and the dying.

as a law student in my final year, i am very impressed with the work the society is doing. it removes a great burden and creates confidentiality that not only will a health worker help one pysically but also mentally. keep it up.

Am happy ad proud to be one of this noble profesion staff...lets love life,,ad respect it till the last day.

Hospices should extend their services to other counties, a lot of people are struggling outside here. This will easily remove this great burden and create confidentiality that the health care providers could give not only physical treatment but also mental care. Let them extend their palliative care training to the community at large.

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