Hospices of Hope US

Services in Moldova:

Members of the team at Hospice Aripile Sperantei

Background

Hospices of Hope Moldova is establishing a sustainable, national network of small hospice organisations in Moldova. Rather than working with a country partner HOHM is working with independent organisations across the country.

So far the network includes five hospices. These are

  • Hospice Aripile Sperantei (Wings of Hope) in Orhei
  • Hospice Angelus in Soroca
  • Hospice Angelus in Ocnita
  • Hospice Taraclia and
  • a new hospice organisation in Cahul. 

Services

Services provided by the network organisations are primarily through home visits. The service in Cahul is integrated with a local public hospital.  

Challenges faced in Moldova

  • Many patients have no family support - so many people work abroad that terminally ill patients do not have anyone to help with their care 
  • Medical professionals are reluctant to tell their patients their true prognosis   
  • Funding - whilst the state will cover some of the costs of home visits, there is still a considerable shortfall
  • The extreme poverty within the country 

Our country manager in Moldova, Raluca, has visited some of the patients cared for by these hospices and their stories are here.  She says:

"The stories of our patients about their incurable illnesses and life limiting conditions, is, unfortunately, accompanied by poor living conditions. This fact emphasises more the need of the help that we are providing, starting with medication to psycho-emotional care. Our help is so much appreciated by our patients, who are coping with their pain. There are patients that only see our teams coming to visit as to ease their pain. There are others that cannot afford to buy necessary goods, some of them cannot afford to buy food." 

 

A patient's home

Projects in Moldova:

Project 1 - National Hospice Network

In 2016 we launched a project to create a national network of hospices in Moldova. To do this we established Hospices of Hope Moldova.

To date we have 5 hospice organisations in the network. These are Hospice Aripile Sperantei (Wings of Hope) in Orhei, Hospice Angelus in Soroca, Hospice Angelus in Ocnita, Hospice Taraclia in Taraclia and a new hospice organisation in Cahul. 

Some of these had seed funding but were struggling to continue – one having closed and two facing closure. Staff often combined working for the hospice with their state job and used their own vehicles for transport. 

The project’s goal is to support the network hospices with the long-term aim of making them self- sustaining.

Caring for a patient

Impact   

Funding provided by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and Medicor has greatly strengthened the sustainability of the hospice organisations and has given them a brighter future.

Since June 2018 when the BMS project started we have ensured that there are hospice services available in the north, north-east, centre and south of the country. 

The team in Soroca, Moldova with new transport

So far the project has achieved the following:

  • Provided medical training (including paediatric care) to the teams
  • Moved two organisations into more suitable accommodation
  • Provided new transport (including fuel costs) for the home care teams
  • Re-opened Taraclia Hospice (retaining its highly professional team)
  • Averted the potential closure of the two other organisations
  • Introduced an App which will enhance communication between the network members
  • Staffed Hospices of Hope Moldova

State recognition

We have publicly launched the National Programme for Palliative Care with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the government is very supportive of our work.

Project launch with the Moldovan Secretary for Health and Social Protection, Dr Rodica Scuelnic (centre), Former Executive Director of Hospices of Hope, Alex Padureanu (left) and HOH Country Manager Raluca Muntean (right).

The future

Thanks to the BMS Foundation we have added two hospices (Cahul and Taraclia) to the original network. We are planning to renovate the in-patient ward in Cahul. 

The mobile app that was piloted and developed in Romania with the help of the BMS Foundation has been adapted for use in Moldova and will enhance communication between beneficiaries and medical teams and also between network members.  

We will continue to provide training to the teams and are considering extending the network to other parts of the country.   

Project 2 - Stoma and other Medical Supplies

Another way in which we help patients in Moldova is by sending medical supplies.  Supplies such as stoma bags, wigs and breast prostheses are donated by our supporters in the UK and sent out to Moldova. If you are interested in donating medical supplies see our Medical Supplies page.  

Valeriu - A beneficiary of our Medical Supplies project 

Valeriu has bowel cancer.  He was first diagnosed ten years ago when doctors told him that his life expectancy was at most three to four years. He was only thirty two at the time. Recently his symptoms returned and when he went back to the state hospital he was told that there was nothing more the doctors there could do.   

Valeriu persisted and found a doctor who would operate but the procedure did not go well. He uses stoma provided by Hospices of Hope Moldova. He suffers from very severe headaches. He will not give in though and continues to try to find a surgeon who can help him.

He is soon to be a grandfather and has a good relationship with his wife who he met at school. She supports him in everything. They have two daughters. The oldest one has already married, and the young sister is a student in Romania. Living conditions are very modest, every penny is spent on Valeriu's care.

Through Hospice Aripile Sperantei he has access to medicines which he would not otherwise be able to afford.  He is also grateful for the stoma bags and equipment that are provided to him by Aripile Sperantei through Hospices of Hope Moldova.

According to the hospice team “Valeriu is a man who is filled with optimism and spirit and who continues to believe in miracles."

Moldova stories:

Mr. M is an elderly man who is being treated by the Hospice Angelus team. He has stomach cancer which is terminal, has lost his sight and struggles to breathe.

Whilst he was having surgery his wife had a heart attack and was advised to rest in bed.

Both are bedridden and neither of them knows that the other is ill. Their daughter, who gave up her job in Chisinau to care for them, is struggling to cope.  She is the only one who knows the severity of her father’s illness.  She tried to find a carer for her parents but such help is very scarce outside the capital, Chisinau.   

The daughter is overwhelmed. She relies heavily on the hospice team for advice and support and is severely depressed, collapsing under the strain of the situation. The hospice team has helped find her psychological support through the town’s medical centre.