As we write this we are saddened and horrified by the events in Ukraine unfolding in our newspapers and on our TV screens. We have watched the images of the bombing of a maternity and children’s hospital, of hospital patients, both children and adults, being cared for in hospital basements, of cities being bombarded and people suffering with a lack of the most basic supplies. We have also heard stories of bravery and humanitarian efforts such as 150 Ukrainian children with cancer and their families reaching Poland and other destinations to continue their treatment (St Jude’s Research Hospital 2022), or the efforts to move terminally ill children from Kahrkiv (Damon, Stapleton and Platt, 2022). We know of palliative care professionals swapping their white coat for army fatigues to fight for their countries, and of others doing their best to care for adults and children needing palliative care in such difficult and stressful circumstances. We have also shared experiences here on the international children;s edition of ehospice and will continue to do so.
We have been asked by many people how best they can support palliative care programmes in Ukraine at this difficult time. Following discussions with the global palliative care community we can suggest the following:
Through a Global Giving Campaign to help support palliative care patients in Ukraine
The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, along with ICPCN and PALCHASE have launched a Global Giving campaign to support hospice and palliative care programmes in Ukraine caring for hundreds of seriously ill children and adults are under assault and many patients have been transported to nearby countries for palliative care, including Poland, Romania, and Moldova. Through this campaign we will raise money to support them and help rebuild their programmes in the longer-term.
Support the campaign here.
Through Humanitarian Aid Organisations
Support the credible humanitarian aid response organisations, either large or the smaller ones that are helping individual programmes within Ukraine. Some are able to receive donations for those who wish to give directly. However the view from the aid organisations is that it is better to give money and then they can use the money as needed – sending equipment etc takes time and it is difficult to get it to where it is needed – the credible humanitarian aid organisations have the systems in place to do this. Depending on where you live there will be different ways of giving – for example in the UK you can give through the Disaster Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal.
Supporting Palliative Care Organisations
There are some scenarios where support to our colleagues in palliative care is possible.
- In the present invasion to support through the aid responders, communication, advocacy, virtual presence, prayer etc.
- Through supporting our colleagues in the border countries with the refugees needing palliative care
- Then in the longer -term and depending on the outcome, supporting the rebuilding of palliative care programmes in Ukraine. Also Loss, grief, bereavement support – spiritual and psycho-social support, translation of helpful documents, training, texts into Ukrainian etc.
As global palliative care organisations we continue to explore ways of supporting our palliative care colleagues and will update this page as appropriate. It is important that any support that we give is managed properly through good financial and governance systems. There are many palliative care organisations in the surrounding countries in Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova and then Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia and they are all working hard to support refugees and in particular those with palliative care needs – both adults and children.
Hospices of Hope is a non-profit organisation which aims to provide palliative care services to adults and children with terminal and life-limiting illnesses in Southeastern Europe. In particular in Romania, Moldova, Albania, Serbia and Greece. They have set up an urgent appeal to help Ukraine and are helping in 5 ways:
- They have made available one of the buildings at their Copaceni children’s centre in Romania on a temporary basis to house women and child refugees from Ukraine, in particular those who have medical needs (their services for children will continue in the other buildings).
- They are in touch with the palliative care teams in Ukraine to find out their current needs, and where possible help them with medications, dressings etc.. They will admit any Ukrainian citizens needing palliative care to their hospice in Bucharest and have already done so.
- They are helping to provide psychological counselling for those affected by trauma through their teams in Romania and Moldova (the teams in Soroca and Ocnita are right on the border with Ukraine)
- They are helping refugees with basic medicine and food and sending them to their temporary accommodations via their hospice vehicles where they can. Many are crossing the border without transport and have nowhere to turn.
- They are collecting donations of both medical supplies and food in both countries and distributing them to refugees staying in the area.
If you would like to give through the Hospice of Hope Ukraine appeal you can do this here.
Alongside this Hospice Casa Sperantei (House of Hope) in Romania, who work with Hospices of Hope, have also set up an appeal. They will welcome Ukrainian refugees in need of shelter, medical, social and psychological support, coming to the aid of women and children who are forced to flee from war, as well as vulnerable people who have stayed at home in Ukraine and who are threatened by weapons, disease and hardship. The Hospice Centre in Adunatii Copaceni is providing accommodation for mothers together with their children. The specialists of the organisation will provide basic medical and social services and psychological counselling free of charge. People with cancer requiring medical care will be taken to the Hospice Centre in Bucharest.
To help patients and medical workers from Ukraine, HOSPICE Casa Speranței will send donations of medicines and medical supplies. The foundation is also working with several professionals and organisations providing palliative care services in Ukraine in order to provide them with the necessary support.
If you would like to give through the Hospice Casa Sperantei Ukraine appeal you can do this here.
Supporting childhood cancer organisations
There are several organisations working specifically to support those children in Ukraine with Cancer. Soleterre is one such organisation – an Italian organisation that has been working in Ukraine since 2003 supporting children with cancer. They are supporting the care of the children who they have been able to evacuate from Ukraine to Poland. More information can be found here.
We are very aware that the situation is changing day-by day and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those in Ukraine and the surrounding countries impacted by this war and thank all those working hard to provide support and ease suffering where possible.
We will update this page with more information as to how you can support our colleagues in Ukraine as appropriate.