Professor Mawuli Kotope Gyakobo of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics of the University of Cape (UCC) wants Government to institutionalise palliative care into the existing health care system as a sub-specialty in family medicine.
'There is the need for the health sector to shift from the everyday biomedical care to a holistic care that would cater for every aspect of the patients need from both psychological to spiritual', he said.
He said as the palliative care model sought to incorporate all specialities, the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients, especially those with terminal and serious illness would be addressed while they received treatment.
Speaking at a Public Lecture at UCC, Prof Gyakobo underscored that a proper integration of palliative care model into the existing health system would go a long way to address the problem of people resorting to pastors and spiritualist for cure.
'When a patient feels better in these areas, their quality of lives improve and therefore they will not fall prey to fake spiritualists and eventually end up dying in prayer camps' he stated.
The lecture was organised by the Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) was on the theme: 'Medicine in the 21st Century: Shifting the paradigm from the biomedical to the holistic - Lessons from the Palliative Care Model'.
Prof Gyakobo said if the goal of the palliative care model would be met, health institutions must be structured such that they would meet all health needs of every patient.
Health practitioners must also be educated on ways to help to improve the life of their patients through addressing their every need especially psychological need rather than the everyday doctor patient relationship, he added
He said hospital facility itself should be equipped with the right furniture that would provide comfort to patients adding that health workers must also relate well with patients.
'If patients with arthritis are made to sleep and sit on metal beds and chairs on the hospital , knowing well that it would affect them more, how do you expect them to feel better when they leave the hospital', he questioned.
He said emergency response teams should all be trained to meet every need of a patient and not just the physical need.
Prof Gyakobo encouraged universities and health institutions to mount new academic programmes in pain and palliative care to enable practitioners to gain the necessary knowledge as the country sought to shift from the biomedical model of treating patients towards a holistic approach.
'Life expectancy is increasing and we are also expecting an increase in the growth of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, therefore there is the need to train health workers to meet the needs of these patients so they do not result to suicide', he said.
Prof Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, the Vice-Chancellor of UCC encouraged medical practitioners to be more easy-going and encourage patients to voice out their problems instead of making prescriptions without their input.