CEO, Anna Perolls, visits our country partners in Greece
In March 2023 our CEO, Anna, made a visit to both partner hospices in Greece; Merimna and Nosilia. Here, she shares her experience.
“Although surprising to some, there is a huge need for palliative care support in Greece. 3,300 children and 135,000 adults require palliative care each year and there is currently no support or funding provided by the state. There are only 3 specialist palliative care teams in Greece, two of those are our partners. On speaking with hospice staff and patients during my visit, it was clear that even the primary care system in the country is very weak, and worsening due to lack of trained personnel. It was wonderful to be able to meet the teams in person at both organisations after many video calls and discussions over the last year. They are so committed to their work and to making a difference in Greece, it was inspiring to hear their stories and to take part in home visits with members of the multi-disciplinary team. One of the families we visited have a 17-month-old son, D. D has a severe condition as well as epilepsy and cannot move or speak. Unfortunately, his diagnosis was not picked up at birth. He was diagnosed at 7 months old after having his first fit, and now requires feeding tubes and consistent care and support.
His parents had tried taking him to their local doctor but were sadly turned away and advised to go to the hospital instead, but there are no specialist doctors at the hospital that could help with D’s condition. After coming across Merimna (the only children’s care organisation) D and his family are now receiving regular visits from the team to help them to understand his diagnosis, manage his symptoms, and to give him a better quality of life for the remaining time he is with them. It was moving to see their gratitude towards the Merimna team and for me, it really demonstrated the impact that could be made for families in Greece with the expansion of services and awareness of the need for palliative care. Our aim is to enable Merimna to employ another full-time nurse, a full-time social worker and to provide a symposium on palliative care that will help to educate more Greek health care professionals. In addition, we are working with Nosilia to fund another home-care team which will enable them to reach more terminally ill adults in the Athens area.”