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Financial neglect towards hospices has been going on for many years. There will be changes from April

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For terminally ill patients, staying in a hospice is a matter of safety and comfort. They are afraid of pain, suffering and death. From April 1, the government will lift hospice admission limits and will increase budget spending on hospices by 20 percent.

Zofia Jędrzejowska suffers from thyroid cancer and has metastases to the lungs. She is at risk of pulmonary hemorrhage at any moment. Leaving her alone at home, without constant care, would mean that she would risk dying in suffering.

– If a patient is alone at home, he or she may choke on these clots, it just looks like that – says Zofia Jędrzejowska. Fortunately, she ended up in a hospice in Rzeszów before the limits expired. So far, hospices could not accept everyone in need.

The bittersweet taste of celebration

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– Until now, some patients did not survive palliative care – admits Maria Grzegorzewska, a palliative medicine specialist in the clinical palliative and hospice care department in Rzeszów. Now that will change. Limits will be lifted in hospice clinics, stationary and home hospices.

– For me, as the president of a home hospice, which on average admits 15 people per month, this news about the abolition of the limits is a great celebration – says Katarzyna Kałduńska, president of the “Hospice House” foundation in Pruszcz Gdański.

SEE ALSO: “The situation of many hospices in Poland is dramatic”

They die in great suffering because there are no places in hospices. Doctors and patients' families are calling for the limits to be liftedMarek Nowicki/Fakty TVN

However, the taste of the celebration remains bittersweet, because the financial neglect towards hospices has been ongoing for many years. Many institutions are in a dramatic financial situation, many are in debt, many even have to beg for funds to survive. One hospice in Gdańsk has enough money from the National Health Fund to cover only half of its expenses.

It is unimaginable how much pain palliative patients feel

– We are unable to accept them because we do not have doctors and nurses who will take care of them, so we are waiting for the second step: to increase the rates – says Agnieszka Paczkowska, vice-president of the Hospice Foundation. This is what hospices all over the country have been demanding for years and – surprisingly – there is also good news here. The Ministry of Health will increase rates for hospice treatment.

– From April 1, we are abolishing the limits and we are raising and changing the tariff, which means we are pricing this benefit better. In the middle of the year at the latest, but I would like it to happen earlier – announces Izabela Leszczyna, Minister of Health from the Civic Coalition.

Currently, the National Health Fund spends one billion zlotys on hospice care. In the coming months, this amount is expected to increase by at least PLN 200 million, i.e. by over one fifth. There is a chance that this will reduce the level of suffering of Polish patients in terminal conditions at least slightly.

SEE ALSO: She wrote prescriptions for free medicines for seniors and was fined. “The National Health Fund waited four years”

There is no money in Polish hospices. "We would like to ask for an increase in the rate to PLN 230"

There is no money in Polish hospices. “We would like to ask for an increase in the rate to PLN 230”Katarzyna Czupryńska-Chabros/Fakty po Południu TVN24

– It is unimaginable how much pain palliative patients feel, for us who feel well, and how this time passes for them: in enormous suffering – says Teresa Łęcka, psycho-oncologist, psychogeriatrician at the hospice in Olkusz.

Next, the Ministry of Health will have to supplement the basket of hospice services, because not only oncology patients need help in these facilities, but also those suffering from other types of terminal diseases.

Main photo source: TVN24

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