Palliative care service for those with HIV
‘Our patients are like children’ – that’s what sisters of charity say with all their tenderness and love about those under their care at the Moscow Infectious Diseases Hospital ¹2. It’s not that easy to understand and feel the true meaning of their words straightaway, as the stereotype about HIV-positives is deeply ingrained in our consciousness. Patients at the Moscow Infectious Diseases Hospital ¹2 are those who are habitually rejected and denounced by our modern society without a second thought. This makes mere human support, care and spiritual help so important to them.
Sisters of charity have been coming to HIV-positive patients here since 2007 in order to look after them and support them in every possible way. The largest infectious disease hospital houses mostly young in-patients aged about 35. The evil way of the disease makes its sufferers devoid of any physical strength; their arms and legs can be locked up when only yesterday did they seem to feel perfectly well. And that is only a fraction of the physical suffering that such patients are weakened by.
Our sisters of charity and volunteers look after HIV and AIDS patients in four divisions of the hospital where some 200 of them are treated. They help the exhausted and bedridden patients with hygienic services, wash them, shave them, cut their hair, bandage their wounds, treat their pressure sores, bring them clothes and hygiene products. Under sisters’ supervision, our volunteers also help the seriously ill patients. They do so after having undergone due training at the courses run by the Caregivers’ Service based at St Dimitry’s Training College for Sisters of Charity. Apart from the basics of medical care, sister of charity do their best to teach the trainees the main principles of their work with such patients, i.e. tactfulness and sensitivity towards their patients, respect for their human nature.