Reaching out with palliative care: an evaluation of a community volunteer programme in Uganda

B. Jack, A. Merriman, J. Birakurataki

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


    Background: In Uganda in each year approximately 27,000 new cases of cancer are reported affecting 1.5% of the population.1 However a shortage of Doctors, wide geographical distribution, and poor transport systems leads to many patients especially in rural areas experiencing severe uncontrolled symptoms. Hospice Africa Uganda developed a community volunteer worker programme where local villagers are trained to identify patients with palliative care needs. The volunteers refer patients to the hospice and provide basic care and support for patients and families. A training course with ongoing support has resulted in 45 volunteers currently practicing. The volunteers receive no payment, except for a bicycle enabling them to reach remote rural areas. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the volunteer programme on patients, hospice staff and volunteers. Methodology: A qualitative methodology using semi structured individual and group tape recorded interviews was adopted for the study. A purposive sample of a volunteers (22), patients (11) and hospice staff involved with the programme (2) were invited to participate in the study. Data was analysed for emerging themes using thematic analysis. Results and discussion: The volunteers were seen to be providing a positive impact to patients in helping them to receive appropriate care and intervention from the hospice team; additionally they were providing basic nursing care, support and advice to patients and their families. For volunteers, the role increased their confidence by providing care for their community. Additionally for the hospice team it enables patients in rural areas with palliative care needs to be identified and provided with appropriate care. This paper will discuss the findings from the study and provide an overview of the structure of the programme.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event11th Congress for the European Association for Palliative Care - Vienna, Austria
    Duration: 7 May 200910 May 2009


    Conference11th Congress for the European Association for Palliative Care


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