This week, Heart of Kent Hospice has been sharing its specialist expertise in palliative and end-of-life care with healthcare professionals in Lahore, Pakistan.

Jackie Pritchard, Clinical Educator at the hospice in Aylesford is only one of three palliative care professionals from the UK invited to teach doctors and nurses in Lahore about end-of-life care.

Jackie was invited to participate as part of a Faculty of Learning team put together by Dr Chris Farnham, Palliative Medicine Consultant at Barts Health NHS Trust and former Consultant at Heart of Kent Hospice.

In Pakistan, palliative and end-of-life care is not treated as a specialism, so the team were invited to teach a representative group of 20 doctors and 20 nurses from all over the country who could then return to their respective hospitals and act as trainers for their colleagues.

As well as Dr Chris Farnham and Jackie, the Faculty of Learning included Dr Humaira Jamal, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at East and North Herts NHS Trust and Dr Haroon Hafeez, Palliative Care Physician from the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Lahore.

Dr Chris Farnham put the team together following a generous donation from a family whose loved one received end-of-life care in the UK and who in turn wanted to leave a legacy to help improve palliative care in their home country of Pakistan.

The five full days of training covered all areas of palliative care, from pain management and recognising patients in the last stages of life, to communicating bad news, caring for the patients’ families and bereavement, and included a mixture of presentations and assessments.

As well as teaching the doctors and nurses, Jackie was invited as a guest speaker at the 18th Shaukat Khanum Cancer Symposium which preceded the five days of training. She talked about the importance of communication between doctors and nurses in caring for patients at the end of their lives. Jackie was one of more than 100 guest speakers and the event attracted delegates from over 25 countries.

Jackie was chosen to accompany Dr Chris Farnham, because of her wide-ranging experience both as a Macmillan Nurse and Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and as a respected trainer in palliative care at Heart of Kent Hospice.

Returning from Lahore, Jackie said: “I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to share my expertise with the doctors and nurses on the course and the delegates who attended the symposium. It’s very exciting to imagine that our team may have influenced the way terminally ill patients in Pakistan will be treated from now on.”

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