Cultural Challenges in Implementing Palliative Services in Lebanon

Marie Claire Mouhawej*, Nadine Maalouf-Haddad and Aline Tohmé

Cultural Challenges in Implementing Palliative Services in Lebanon

Palliative Care is a relatively new discipline in Lebanon with some progress being made
in recent years. Based on our clinical experience, we describe and discuss the cultural aspects of
palliative care, the attitudes and the practice of physicians and nurses in PC, and the challenges
to implement it in our country.

In our society, death is a taboo subject that is rarely discussed, even with patients at the end-of-life.
Under family pressure, physicians do not inform the patients about their diagnosis or prognosis.

With the extraordinary progress of medicine, more deaths occur in institutions.
These advances, in a context of repression of death, lead to overmedicalization
of the end-of-life and to the exclusion of the dying person.

Care is usually complex, and treatment involves many medical specialties
with fragmentation and limited coordination of patient care.

One approach is to transform the current disease-focused
approach to a patient-centered philosophy.

With the aging of our population and the increasing number of cancer patients in Lebanon,
the need for PC teams and programs will also increase.

The recognition of the specialty by the Ministry of Health and the adequate reimbursement
for PC services will encourage physicians in training to consider careers in PC.

Education of professionals in palliative care and clarification of the concept
to the general public are also essential steps to improve PC.

Cultural Challenges in Implementing Palliative Services in Lebanon
Palliat Med Hosp Care Open J. 2017; SE(1): S15-S18. doi: 10.17140/PMHCOJ-SE-1-104