• 60-day leave benefit with pay for relatives/family members who take care of critically- ill patients proposed

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    IMMEDIATE family members or relatives who take care of their critically-ill patient will soon be entitled to a 60 days leave benefit with pay, under a bill providing palliative care and end-of-life services to patients with life threatening illnesses.

    Re-elected Reps. Diosdado Ignacio “Dato” Macapagal Arroyo of Camarines Sur  and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga authors of the bill in the 15th Congress, have vowed to re-file the bill that will make life more pleasant for critically ill patients up to the very last hours of their existence.

    Under the bill, patients who are living below poverty level shall be eligible for assistance in payment for the palliative care treatment.

    “Patients with critical illnesses such as, cancer, cardio vascular diseases and other life threatening illnesses suffer unbearable pain and sorrows and often rely on the sympathy and indefatigable assistance of their families, relatives, doctors, nurses and others in allied health sciences to make the remaining days of their lives bearable,” Macapagal-Arroyo said.

    Health care professionals and volunteers shall undergo multi-disciplinary education and specialized training with respect to an integrated and coordinated approach towards palliative and end-of-life care support services.

    “Pain and anguish shatter the lives of families upon news of loved ones afflicted with an acute disease that can no longer be cured medically and most families hope for a miracle as their loved ones hold on tightly to the precious thread of life,” Macapagal-Arroyo said.

    The measure, to be known as the Palliative and End-of-Life Care Act, shall require all provinces, cities and municipalities to jointly establish community-based hospice units and palliative care centers in their respective jurisdictions.

    A Palliative Care Trust Fund shall be established for the financial support and assistance of the medical needs of indigent patients.

    The measure was inspired by Canadian Senator Sharon Carstairs who pioneered on this work to help make life more pleasant for the people of her country up to the very last hours of their lives.

    “It is our hope that we can replicate her noble intentions in our country even if we have to start from modest beginnings and on tentative steps,” Macapagal-Arroyo said. PNA

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