MONTEVIDEO – Around half of Uruguayans who need palliative care get it, earning the country the top spot in the list of Latin American countries who provide this type of treatment to the terminally ill, the nation’s health ministry said in Montevideo on Thursday.
“We still have the remaining 50 percent left, but I reiterate that when compared with the countries in the region, we are among the best,” Minister Jorge Basso said at an event marking World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018. “We must meet the challenge to keep going forward.”
The ministry’s secretary for palliative care, Dr. Gabriela Piriz, said that some 16,000 new patients require these services every year, a figure that does not include close relatives, who also receive treatment to help them cope with disease or loss.
“Family is provided education about care and treatment to avoid pathological mourning,” she said. “It’s a different approach to medicine. More humane and comprehensive. We hope it permeates throughout the whole system.”
The doctor also said that palliative care is an “inter-disciplinary approach to treating patients with very serious life-threatening diseases, whatever their age and case.”
Despite being the region’s leader on the subject, Prior said that healthcare needs to keep improving, and pointed out to specific actions required to achieve that goal, such as “professional training, availability of medication and the installation of palliative care equipment.”