Dear Readers

Volume 24, Number 11: November 2023

Dear Readers,

Every November we announce our Recognition Awards Program, which aims to foster the development of palliative care around the world. We celebrate individuals and institutions who have advanced palliative care and have inspired others to realize IAHPC’s vision of a world free from health-related suffering. 

The objectives of the Recognition Awards Program are to:

Each award consists of a US $1,000 cash prize, a certificate, and a one-year IAHPC membership. Find more information, including how to access the nomination and application forms, in the News section.

This month is also the launch of IAHPC’s annual fundraising campaign. Many readers think that the IAHPC has plenty of financial resources: this is not the case. Everyone on the IAHPC team works very hard to achieve the advances and advocacy, programs and projects you see happening upfront. Since our budget is very limited and many funders for palliative care advocacy have exited the field, we rely heavily on donations and membership income.

To keep the wheels turning and before we can announce any program, such as the Recognition Awards, or new project, such as the Best Practices Manual, all pieces of the puzzle must be in place. Once this happens, work behind the scenes focuses on ensuring that we deliver what we promised. Nearly all of the funds we raise cover this amazing work. The organization’s team of officers, advisers, and collaborators—some of whom you may not know as they do not play public roles—are the essence of IAHPC. Without them, the IAHPC would not be able to develop and deliver the benefits we offer to our members, or the projects, programs, tools, and resources that we give freely to the global palliative care community. 

A tiny minority, fewer than 1% of visitors to the IAHPC website and subscribers to our newsletter, supports our work financially. We know that this year has not been an easy one financially for many. But we invite those who have the means to support our goals by becoming a member, or by contributing today. Every donation means a lot to us: it means that you believe in and share our mission to serve as a global platform to inspire, inform, and empower individuals, governments, and organizations to increase access and optimize the practice of palliative care.

We hope that you will hear and respond to our call for help. 

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

A personal note from Liliana

Last month, my father passed away in Colombia. He was 91 years old, had a happy, long life and good quality health care. But he did not receive palliative care in his last months/days. Despite Colombia’s progress in policies and service provision, the public and health care professionals are still very much in denial about the reality of death. In his last days, my dad was surrounded by many very bright, caring specialists and family members who loved him dearly and did not want to accept that he was facing the end of his life. It was quite frustrating, but not uncommon in palliative care. 

To openly accept that a patient or a loved one is dying requires a shift in paradigm of care and beliefs and the ability to “let go,” which is harder than it sounds. We may be able to improve policies and train professionals, but unless we change the culture around end of life, our ability to make a difference at the bedside level will be very limited. This takes time and I am sure that for many of us working in palliative care—unless living in a setting where palliative care is integrated—we have to deal with these challenges and the frustration of knowing that sometimes we can’t change things no matter how hard we try.

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