Introducing the hospice-palliative therapy unit

The Hospice-Palliative Therapy Unit was opened on the second floor of Gyula Kenézy Hospital’s Internal Medicine Wing, renovated in 2016, with the objective of providing end-of-life palliative care in the region – being the only such provider – to those suffering from malignant tumours who require such care. In harmony with the principles of the international and domestic Hospice community, this means active and comprehensive care for those in the final stages of advanced illness caused by malignant tumours, with the stated aim of relieving the pain as well as physical and mental suffering of patients, seeing to their needs and helping them to preserve their dignity and peace of mind.  Palliative care is positive towards life and regards death as a normal process which should neither be hurried nor delayed. Its aim is to safeguard the highest possible quality of life until the moment of death.

The care is provided not only to the patients but also to their families and those close to them, rendering outstanding support to help them bear the burden during the period of the illness and bereavement. By extending care to these patients in the separate hospice-palliative unit, the demands on hospital beds can also be reduced.

The Debrecen Hospice House Foundation undertook a significant role alongside the directors of Kenézy Hospital in the establishment of the unit and in starting its operations, and for this we hereby express our gratitude.

In accordance with the principles of palliative care, a multidisciplinary team provides care at our Unit, comprised of doctors, nurses, a psychologist, a mental hygiene specialist, a pastor, a priest, a dietician, a physio-therapist and a social worker as well as trained volunteers. Care at our Unit is provided for twenty in-patients in five four-bed rooms each equipped with a toilet and bathroom. Other facilities include a community space, a dining area, as well as a separate space where patients are bathed, and a room for worship and meditation. We can also provide changing and bathroom facilities for volunteers helping us in our work and for patients’ families who are visiting (should they wish to spend the night with their relative).

Patients with tumours may only be accepted into our Unit if the state of their illness and the degree of their complaints have deteriorated to the point when hospice care at home is no longer an option. Admissions can only be carried out with the informed and written agreement of the immediate family in addition to that of the patient (in cases of incapacitation, by the legal guardian of the patient). In exceptional cases, patients can be admitted even when their home nursing is in place but the relatives need some temporary relief from the burden of protracted care provision.

Admissions to the Unit are made on the basis of prior consultation with a specialist doctor or head nurse. Patients from Kenézy Hospital’s wards can be admitted after a bedside consultation, while patients from outside Kenézy Hospital are admitted based on a prior out-patient examination. An out-patient examination during consultation hours is available at the out-patient department of the ward and can be carried out with an appointment made in advance with a referral; the latter may be written by the patient’s GP or it can be a request for Hospice Ward treatment recorded by the institution providing oncological care or treatment for the patient.  During the out-patient examination data are recorded, the patient’s case history is reviewed and the patient’s pressing needs are assessed with the help of assessment scales and a health check sheet. After this the patient is put on a waiting list and is then admitted to the unit depending on the available capacity. The treatment and care of the patient lasts until the moment of death but in the case of a protracted terminal condition, when the patient’s medication is set, the necessary medical equipment is arranged, home nursing is organised, and we provide hospice care until the moment of death in the patient’s home.

It is important to note that the hospice care is financed by the Hungarian Healthcare Fund (OEP), i.e. free of charge for the patient.