World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Marked in Georgia

22 Oct, 2012

On October 13 the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is celebrated around the world. Along with other countries Georgia has joined this international initiative for the third time this year. The theme for World Day 2012 is “Living to the end: palliative care for an ageing population”.

To mark the day the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) hosted a photo exhibition “Living to the end: palliative care for an ageing population”. The exhibition displayed photos featuring prominent people when they were young and when they were older.
Giorgi Nioradze, a journalist, presented a documentary movie ‘Sisters’. The movie is about the Transfiguration Covent Mercy House.

Watch documentary  (Now available in Georgian only. English version will be available shortly)

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is the multi-profile care, which primarily aims to relieve the pain of people with terminal diseases, provide social and psychological aid and moral support to them. Hospices are the institutions where these people get both physical and moral support during final days of their lives. Such terminal diseases are AIDs, stage 4 of malignant tumor, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular system and neurological diseases… These people are palliative patients. The only thing the medicine can do for them is to provide care that focuses on pain relief.

Currently there are two hospices in Tbilisi – the one at the Cancer Prevention Center and the other at the Transfiguration Convent
The introduction of palliative care to Georgia was first supported by the OSGF and Open Society Institute in 1999. With the support from the OSGF and the First Lady of Georgia, the ground was prepared for palliative care as a system and the country started providing such medical service. As a result of intensive work and advocacy, in 2007 the Palliative care was officially recognized as a separate field of medicine; respective amendments were made to the Law on Health Care.

The development of palliative care in Georgia is supported by the Georgian National Association for Palliative Care led by Dimitri Kordzaia. The association focuses on AIDs patients. Palliative care is also provided for people in their homes. As a result, 6 thousand patients receive such care a year.