Hospices of Hope US

Find out about our charity partners in the USA and the work they are doing fundraising for our work providing palliative care services and hospices in Romania, Serbia, Moldova and Albania

Visit Hospices of Hope Moldova's Website

Moldova - Hospice Aripile Sperantei, Hospice Angelus (Soroca), Hospice Angelus (Ocnita), Hospice Taraclia Cahul project - joint project with local state hospital

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe.  The population in Moldova is around 3,500,000 people. Around 25,000 need hospice care each year but only 7-8% receive any form of support. Other than in the capital, Chisinau, there is very little provision for hospice care. In rural areas there are some small organisations but these are usually staffed by doctors on a part time basis as they cannot give up their work for the state. These organizations are struggling to survive and Hospice of Hope, Moldova is working with them to ensure that their work continues. On particular problem in Moldova is migration. This means that many people who are suffering with illness have no family to care for them as many people of working age have left the country.

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
  • A new hospice organisation in Cahul

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Services in Moldova

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, center and south of the country. 

So far the project has achieved the following:

  • Provided medical training (including pediatric 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)/li>
  • 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 Program for Palliative Care with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and the government is very supportive of our work.


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

Caring for the carer

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 center.

Nadia's story

Nadia has terminal breast cancer with metastases all over her body. No-one has told her she has cancer or her prognosis. She used to live on her own but has moved in with her sister who takes care of her and her own husband who recently suffered a heart attack.  The atmosphere in the flat is very depressing. Nadia is in a very confused state, bedridden and virtually paralyzed.  Her pain is under control through the intervention of the hospice team but she is distressed because she is unable to move her legs and only has limited movement in her arms. Her sister works in the market during the day so a local lady comes in to keep an eye on things. She makes sure Nadia gets water and food, but doesn’t do anything else and this means that Nadia spends all day lying in the same position. The medical team has advised on care but Nadia only gets this on the days the hospice team visits and in the evenings when her sister returns from work.

When the team visits Nadia she will not communicate and she turns her head away. She then cries and asks the team to give her something to help her walk again so she can go to the market to help her sister. The waiting list for a carer in Soroca has more than 300 people on it and the medical team can only visit Nadia twice a week at most which is not enough to ensure that she lives and dies with dignity.

The loneliness of cancer

Ms F is an old lady living in the center of Orhei. She had surgery for cancer and now has a stoma. She also suffers from severe asthma. She was bedridden for two months after the surgery but now she has some mobility and can go to the local shop by herself to buy essentials. She is very thin and has lost a lot of weight. Her son came back from Ukraine to look after her whilst she was confined to bed but now nobody from her family is there to take care of her. The hospice doctors keep her pain under control and have shown her how to manage her symptoms.  

Ms F needs medicines for her asthma attacks and needs regular injections.  But money is an issue and she struggles to meet the cost of the medicine. Sometimes she spends money on stoma bags if the hospice can’t provide any, but she often improvises. Home is a one bedroom flat with a small kitchen. She spends much of her time, often all day, in the bedroom, lying in bed covered with blankets. She has no TV or radio and can’t read as she has problems with her sight. The flat is very cold but she will not turn the electric radiator on as she wants to save money for her funeral and to buy 40 “pomeni” (a Moldovan tradition requiring 40 gifts to be given on death).

She is very happy and thankful for the help Aripile Sperantei gives her. Without them she would go for days without any company. She is usually visited by Nurse Cristina and Dr Olga who take great care of her. They routinely visit her once a week and whenever she needs them. She is very grateful for all the medical support they provide but also for the psychological help they give her.