Another day another blog. We started to day off with our normal 7:40 meeting in the hostel lobby, and then headed off to Austral University. However, unlike the other days, we hit major traffic on the way to the University. Apparently there was a car accident on the highway, which caused a lot of traffic. While we waited for the accident on the other side of the Tele Pase to be cleaned up, we sat on the bus and slept. After 20 minutes of sitting still on the highway, we were then on our way to Austral, and made it there only 15 minutes late.
We then rushed to the classroom where we had another presenter give us more information the the healthcare system in Argentina. During this meeting he went into detail on how the system works and future plans that are trying to be implemented. One of the plans that he mentioned that would be a long term goal for Argentina is the idea of better primary care services. Currently there aren’t a lot of primary care services and many of these services are limited. I had many questions about the current primary care system that Argentina has, and our group was fortunately able to visit a few of those centers today.
At these centers, I was able to ask question about how exactly they work, and whether they are privately owned, publicly owned, or a mix of both. I found out that most good primary care centers are privately owned, however, they have a relationship with the Ministry to help all people of a community, and act as a public primary care center. It was interesting to hear exactly how they work, and I’m even more curious on how they stay open, because most are run purely on donations. After visiting these primary care centers we visited a hospice, Buen Samaritano, which similarly is functioning on donations.
At the hospice, our presenter spoke a lot about palliative care, which is the focus of a hospice. He went really into detail on the reasons why palliative care is so important, and just as important as any other care. During his presentation, he threaded in a story about one of the patients that they had at the hospice, and how this patient grew as a person during his stay at the hospice. More importantly, our presenter explained how the patient was at peace with his condition, and how the hospice achieved their mission which was to alleviate any of the pain the patient was suffering from. Our presenter spoke about how that in the last minutes of the patient’s life, he was thankful and had no further questions before leaving this life.
The story that was told during the presentation was extremely touching and eye-opening. Many of my fellow peers were left in tears at the conclusion of the presentation. After the presentation we got a tour of the hospice center, which houses 6 patients, and has over 50 volunteers who worked there. I personally was astonished by all the care that the people in the hospice received and how functional the hospice was for just receiving donations. While walking through the house filled with patients and people from different backgrounds, one things you could feel was the love that made the place feel like home. While in the center, one of the patients held my hand and the hands of my group members, and gave us all a blessing. He knew he was dying but was trying to share love with the time he has left in this life.
The overall experience of the hospice center was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Although, it was a rainy day and a sad scene, it felt right to be there and have the experience.