Romania is playing catch-up with most of Europe when it comes to palliative care. But not catching up very quickly.
In a country in which 150,000 people need palliative care, and which sees approximately 50,000 deaths from cancer per annum, only 8% of cancer sufferers are able to access the services they need.
This translates into many people suffering an unnecessarily painful, undignified death in a country only two hours by plane from the UK.
Emanuel Hospice has been doing all it can to help since 1996.
Dr Beni Paul and patients
A young Romanian nurse named Marinela Murg had first felt the call of the Lord to this area in 1994. Two years later she and a Christian doctor, armed only with a list of terminally ill people and a heart of compassion, commenced the work of what would later become Emanuel Hospice.
Today Emanuel Hospice is a 15 strong-team of evangelical Christian health professionals.
They have received awards from their secular peers for their standards of medical service, as well as sustaining a deep interest in the spiritual needs of their patients.
Romanian Ministries has been delighted to provide funding for one of the Hospice doctors, Simona Baliban. Doctor Simona began at the hospice in April 2016, having worked as a doctor for many years before that. She visits up to thirty patients a week, providing pain-relieving medicine and emotional support, and has stated how much she values being part of a Christian workplace where colleagues feel like a spiritual family.
We’ve also been so pleased to provide sponsorship for Dr Marius Cruceru, Emanuel Hospice’s chaplain. The final days of a cancer patient’s life often see much spiritual concern, and it is a joy for Marius to be available to help in such situations. As a teacher at Emanuel University and previously a pastor, Marius has much experience to draw on, as well as having a real interest in the spiritual welfare of Emanuel Hospice patients.
Romanian Ministries has also made a contribution towards the salary costs of Daria Barna, the hospice’s psychologist. The deep anxieties of a patient’s final days often present themselves in a variety of ways, and Daria’s professional expertise and Christian heart are very helpful. She has a special interest in children, being the first child-life specialist in Romania. This involves Daria “walking” with the children throughout their entire treatment experience. In 2016, Emanuel Hospice assisted 37 children with life-ending or incurable life-altering illnesses.
Our aspirations when it comes to further assisting Emanuel Hospice are two fold –
Firstly, we are seeking to fully sponsor the salary of the Hospice social worker, Estera Ciobanu. Estera is a committed Christian with numerous years’ experience in the social work field in Romania.
Her role is to liaise with patients following the initial assessment of need, to help in applications for state benefits, to refer patients to other members of the hospice staff where necessary, to mediate between family members in situations of tension and to provide bereavement support and counselling.
Increasing salary costs in Romania generally in the health care sector have placed the staffing budget at Emanuel Hospice under considerable pressure. If you would like to help with funding for Estera, please get in touch!
Secondly, we are seeking funds for Emanuel Hospice’s new building. Emanuel Hospice currently helps approximately 14% of its county’s terminally ill people. A new building has already been commenced which will increase capacity to 30-40% of those in need. The amounts of money required are substantial – in the region of £2 million – but the eventual benefits will be vast. Emanuel Hospice has a waiting list at all times with normally 10-12 patients, some of whom die before any aid can be given.
Emanuel Hospice shines as a beacon of Christian light in the darkness of terminal illness in Romania.
Adrian Carey-Jones, Romanian Ministries trustee, has said that the hospice is not only the most outstanding ministry he has encountered in Romania, but the most outstanding ministry he has ever come across.
So please pray for Emanuel Hospice! And if you would like to find out more, please get in touch.