We began supporting Greece in 2020. Merimna is the only children’s care organisation in Greece, and the Nosilia team specialise in care for adults. Both organisations are located in Athens and provide their services free of charge.
Merimna was established in 1995, originally to provide bereavement counselling for children affected by the death of a parent. In 2010, they launched the first palliative home-care service in Athens and in 2013, they extended their bereavement service to Thessaloniki.
Despite the organisation’s best efforts, due to the limited number of staff available to Merimna, they can only provide services to a small amount of people in need. Approximately 500 children die from serious illnesses per year in Greece. Merimna is able to provide services for 29 children annually. A high percentage of children suffering from serious health problems end up in hospitals where sadly, they are unable to receive adequate palliative care due to a lack of expertise. This fact has led in recent years to an increase of requests from the paediatric clinics of the hospitals to Merimna for training and advice for health care professionals.
Nosilia is a long established organisation having provided general home-care services, mainly to disadvantaged patients in Athens, since 2001, although the inclusion of palliative care staff has been more recent. It is currently the only palliative care mobile team for adults in Athens.
They are challenged in trying to raise funds (there is currently no help available from the State) and would like to be able to recruit additional staff members for their palliative care team, as well as provide more training to existing staff.
Their current services provide care for 100 patients and their families each month. They hope to increase this number in the future through funding and launching an additional palliative care team.