Article Abstract

Strengthening palliative care delivery in developing countries: a training workshop model in Botswana

Authors: Anna W. LaVigne, Babe Gaolebale, Goitseone Maifale-Mburu, Eberechi Nwogu-Onyemkpa, Miriam Sebego, Sebathu P. Chiyapo, Erin McMenamin, Surbhi Grover


Background: The persistent global unmet need for palliative care continues to be felt acutely in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the volume is growing and access to palliative services remains underdeveloped. Recognizing the increasing urgency of bolstering palliative care infrastructure, several countries, such as Botswana, have established national policies and strategies to enhance care delivery. Given that education and training are essential components in pursuing this goal, we present a model for a training workshop that was successful in increasing the palliative care knowledge base and skill set in a group of nurses.
Methods: A 2-day palliative care workshop was conducted for 15 nurses in Gaborone, Botswana in October 2014. Ten nurses completed pre- and post-workshop tests consisting of 21 questions spanning palliative care topics and delivery skills.
Results: The survey category with the highest pre-test score of 70% was principles of palliative care. Ninety percent of participants demonstrated statistically significant improvement in post-test scores in comparison to pre-test results. The greatest increase in scores were observed in the categories of communication, end-of-life care and syringe driver use for administration of analgesic medications. The lowest post-test score category was spirituality, though it consisted of one survey question.
Conclusions: Here we provide quantitative data that supports the success of the training workshop model presented. Improvement in palliative care knowledge and treatment skills, as evidenced by the increased scores from pre- to post-test results, suggests the efficacy of this 2-day training program in advancing palliative care education of nurses. Given the unmet need for healthcare workers trained in palliative care, this model could serve as a valuable tool for expanding and strengthening the delivery of care in settings where patients have limited access to palliative care services.