Negasi* was a 55-year old man living in a rented house with his wife and 7 year old daughter. He was referred by the Black Lion Hospital to Hospice Ethiopia with a diagnosis of nasopharyngeal (back of the nose and throat) cancer. On the nurse’s first visit to Negasi, he was bed bound and in severe pain causing poor sleep; he was also unable to swallow due to the mass, and had a huge swollen wound on his face causing gross disfigurement with accompanying odour. He was unable to work resulting in serious socioeconomic problems. and his wife was unemployed.
The nurse from Hospice Ethiopia arranged for him to receive morphine and other medications for his pain. The team gave him nursing care for example mouth care and wound care, and provided medical supplies, and taught his wife how to care for him. In addition, the team provided him with food support and emotional support.
After this care was put in place, he was able to sleep with his pain and other symptoms controlled. The food support helped to relieve their immediate basic needs. As Negasi approached the end of his life, the input from the team increased providing additional support for his wife as she struggled to cope with her husband’s deterioration and care for their daughter. Negasi died three months after the Hospice Ethiopia team became involved in his care. The nurses are providing ongoing bereavement support for the family.
*Not his real name.