Uniting Lawyers with Hospices in Georgia, March 28, 201, by Tamar Ezer

28 Mar, 2018

People facing life-threatening diseases can benefit significantly from palliative care. As defined by the World Health Organization, palliative care helps patients and their families relieve pain and suffering by providing physical, psychosocial, and spiritual support. Helping patients and their families address legal and human rights issues is a crucial part of the holistic approach of palliative care.

People living with AIDS or cancer often face complicated legal questions related to the disposition of property, planning for children, accessing social benefits, and combating discrimination. Caregivers may be particularly vulnerable to human rights abuse. Over the past four years, the Open Society Foundations have supported efforts to link palliative care providers with legal advocates to address these issues in Georgia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ukraine.

In Georgia, this has taken the form of pro bono legal services. Legal services are expensive in Georgia and beyond the means of many palliative care patients, who have undergone long-term, intensive, and costly treatment, exhausting their budget. In October 2008, the Open Society Georgia Foundation held an introduction session on palliative care for legal groups. Kordzadze Law Office, a prestigious Georgian law firm, dedicated one of its lawyers to visit the hospices and remain on call to meet with patients. Read further.