LIFE Before Death #14: Pain Control in Georgia

2011 August 19
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Short Film 14 of 50 in the LIFE Before Death documentary series about the global crisis in untreated pain and the dramatic life changing affect palliative care services can deliver to patients and their families around the world.

In “Pain Control in Georgia” we learn about the introduction of palliative care services in Georgia and some of the challenges faced in getting essential pain medicines into the hands of patients who need them.

“Every society can be divided into three groups by taking into account their health condition,” explains Dr Dimitri Kordzaya (Georgia). “Healthy people — healthy group — ill but curable people, and incurable people.”

“Each country’s health care system must have three directions, three programs. For healthy people it is a preventative program. For ill but curable people it needs to have a curative program. But for the third group it’s necessary to have palliative care programs.”

“During these past 10 years palliative care has become one of the real parts of classical medicine,” continues Dr Ioseb Abesadze (Georgia).

“We are having a big emphasis on pain relief and giving adequate access to pain relief to every patient in the country,” explains Ketevan Khutsishvili (Georgia).

We discover that patients in Georgia requiring strong pain medications like morphine are currently required to go to the police station to get their prescriptions filled.

“This is a very unpleasant development,” reflects Ketevan Khutsishvili. “It contributes to the stigmatization.”

“Currently we can only prescribe morphine for 7 days,” explains Dr Kordzaya, “This needs to be increased to 30 days.”

“Education is one of the first urgent priorities for us,” states Dr Tamari Rukhadze (Georgia).

“In other places you might have time set aside from your employer to get special training,” reflects Dr Holly Yang (USA). “Here, I don’t think that’s possible. So people are trying to work in their training around their jobs and their patients.”

“They’re giving a lot here and I have a lot of hope for Georgia. They’re willing to change their laws and their policies and they’re willing to do the education, so I’m very encouraged because there’s other places where that’s not true.”

Featuring Dr Dimitri Kordzaya (Georgia), Dr Ioseb Abesadze (Georgia), Ketevan Khutsishvili (Georgia), Dr Tamari Rukhadze (Georgia), Dr Holly Yang (USA).

If you’ve missed previous episodes, catch up on the LIFE Before Death website…

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