As 2008 comes to a close, we look back to give thanks for the celebratory moments and blessings of the past 12 months, and review the challenges that came our way to remember the lessons learned.
First batch of medical team recruited
The first 6 months saw the team busy with preparations for the launch of our first inpatient service in a location which subsequently fell through. However, none of the work completed under the guidance of Dr Lily Soehartono went to waste. The team of nurses and doctor she recruited re-organized themselves quickly to launch Rachel House’s home care service for children with cancer.
Pediatric Oncologist on Board
Early in the year, we were introduced to a kindred spirit, Dr Edi Tehuteru from Dharmais Pediatric Oncology Unit. Dr Edi not only embraces completely Rachel House’s mission, but has in fact been practicing the concept of “no pain, no fear” for the children under his care – believing in pain and symptom management as part of total care that should be provided to his patients. We are very fortunate to be able to work with someone like Dr Edi, and are truly blessed that he has agreed to join Rachel House’s Board as an Advisor.
In June/July, coinciding with the launch of our home care service, we received a team of palliative care professionals from Singapore for training assistance. Understanding that there is a lack of palliative care training available in Jakarta and that our medical team needed to be trained from scratch, we turned to Dr Cynthia Goh and Dr Rosalie Shaw from Singapore to plan and formulate the training curriculum needed for our team. The assessment and feasibility trip was conducted in July, accompanied by a representative from the Singapore International Foundation (“SIF”), which will be providing project management and funding support for the proposed 2-year pediatric palliative care training program.
2 qualified palliative care nurses came along on the SIF organized trip. Aisah and Sylvia, who speak Bahasa Indonesia fluently, visited patients at home with our nurses. Bed-side and classroom training were conducted for our medical team, teams from Dharmais Hospital and Cancer Foundation. The full 4-day training, the first of its kind for our nurses, was a huge eye-opener. It was literally their first exposure to palliative care!
By September, we began to realize the mountain of challenges that faced us if we wished to continue to provide home care for our patients. The children Rachel House caters to are from the poorest of the poor families, who often live in the direst of conditions. Poor hygiene, lack of access to clean water and electricity, accessibility issues, and lack of availability of caregivers are a few of the challenges we met while caring for the children at home.
In Late September, we took on a patient who lived 3 hours away from the city centre. While we tried our best to care for Adi until he died, we realized what a strain it was to our resources when we were to take on a patient who simply lives too far away for us to access.
Accessibility and other complications we met in caring for Adi and other patients like him drove us to finally launch another search for an inpatient unit.
- Lucy and Andrew Carmody for organising an evening of fun, friendship and auction in honour of Rachel House in Singapore! The evening brought us new supporters and funding that saw us through much of 2008!
- Alastair Coulthard and Michele Fernando for their continued support through the Golf Tournament they organized for charitable causes.
- Peter Knipp and Singapore Tourism Board for hosting an epicurean evening of gourmet delights for a group of Rachel House’s donors.
- British International School for their enthusiastic support.
- Suzy and Hutomo, whose passion and belief have brought renewed energy to our team and propelled us beyond our greatest imaginations!
- Peter and Ani Simajuntak for willingly embracing Rachel House’s mission and allowing us to begin our operations at RS IMC.
- Mandarin Hotel, Manulife Care Foundation, Grand Kemang Hotel, Alila Hotel, the Canadian Ambassador and his wife and so many others who have continued to march steadfastly alongside us.
- And finally, our fundraising team who has continued to work tirelessly to bring awareness of Rachel House’s activities to the wider communities in Indonesia.