COMMUNITY OF ONCOHEMATOLOGICAL PATIENTS (COHP) ‘KRAUJAS’
- Since 2002 a non-profit, non-government organization COHP ‘Kraujas’ unites patients with oncohematological diseases, their relatives, medicine specialists and everyone who support the ideas of its activities, volunteering and bone marrow and blood donation.
- Community unites more than 1000 patients.
- Community is a member of number of international organizations, including Lymphoma Coalition, The CML Advocates Network, Myeloma Patients Europe Organization and European Cancer Patient Coalition.
COHP ‘Kraujas’ actively participates in health politics in Lithuania, represents oncohematological patients’ needs, speaks out for important issues related to oncohematological diseases, presents concerns that patients are facing and seeks constructive and effective dialogue between patients and health politics.
Participating in health politics contains of:
- Making suggestions concerning legal acts’ adjustments.
- Applications to compensate treatment for patients.
- Participating in working groups of The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania.
COHP ‘Kraujas’ seeks to ensure accessibility of psychological support for oncological patients and their relatives. Psychological support is provided for patients during treatment or in remission, recovered patients who are having difficulties to return to the ordinary life rhythm, patients’ relative as well as people who are experiencing grief and loss.
Community provides free of charge services:
- Individual psychological consultations for oncological patients and their relatives.
- Psychotherapy sessions in a group (patients sharing their experience, support groups for relatives)
- Seminars and lectures on various topics, concerning changes in life, negative emotions and unexperienced concerns that are caused by a cancer diagnosis.
- Workshops such as fractals drawing, cards and bookmarks’ colouring, other art therapy techniques, etc.
Improving patients’ everyday life
- Nutrition consultation. Cancer and its treatment transform patients’ eating habits and can change person’s senses of taste and smell, therefore community “Kraujas” provides possibility to consult with a nutritionist. The specialist helps to make informed nutrition choices and maintain proper nutrition before, during, and after cancer treatment.
- Patients’ accommodation. Additional accommodation free of charge services are provided for patients who arrive to Vilnius university hospital Santariskiu clinics from other cities for short treatment procedures and/or few days chemotherapy course.
- Diseases’ ambassadors. Recovered oncohematological patients, their relatives voluntarily consults present patients concerning different blood diseases and treatment process, social matters, etc. There are 14 ambassadors in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda that patients can contact.
Community constantly publishes various brochures and books in order to educate and inform patients as well as stimulate the interest of diseases’ specifics and innovative treatment possibilities.
Types of publications:
- Disease information. Publications about different types of blood diseases, its’ symptoms, treatment approaches, etc. (NHL, CLL, CML etc.).
- Psychological support. Publications concerning various psychological topics: coping with the cancer diagnosis, stress management guide, ways to help yourself, coping with depression and negative emotions, dealing with the fear of cancer recurrence, etc.
- Nutrition and healthy eating. Nutrition guide ‘What to eat when You have cancer’.
- Booklets containing recommendation tips during neutropenic diet or thrombocytopenia period.
- Online information related to community’s activity, disease information, psychological support, nutrition, events, etc. is available on internet page and Facebook.
- Conference ‘Blood day’ in May. The event seeks to draw attention to oncohematological patients’ concerns and to present the up-to-date information concerning treatment approaches of oncohematological diseases for patients, their relatives and general practitioners.
- Blood cancer awareness days in September. Public events are organized in order to increase awareness about blood cancer and reduce cancer stigma. Publicity concerning new possibilities of treatment, innovations in this fields, etc. is implemented in different media channels (TV, radio, online, social media).
Bone marrow promotion initiative ‘Be Good’
- Since 2005 community implements a social initiative ‘BeGood’, that promotes bone marrow donation.
- Community’s volunteers participate in various events, such as sports competitions, music festivals, cities’ feasts and other mass events and invite people to register to the bone marrow donor registry, give out flyers, tell more about it’s importance and answer most common questions.
- In November of 2015 to celebrate 10th birthday of the project ‘BeGood’ internet page www.begood.lt was renewed in order to give information in more attractive way. The community also administrates initiative’s Facebook page.
- As a result, the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry that started with only several hundreds of potential donors, now unites more than 11 000 people across Lithuania.
Volunteering program ‘Friends’ calendar’
- Objective of the project – to strengthen active public spirit, encourage volunteering to solve physical, psychological and social problems of cancer patients, also to reduce cancer stigma.
- ‘Friends’ calendar’ is the first volunteering program in oncology field that is implemented in Lithuania.
- Participants of the program participated in trainings consisted of medical, psychological, social topics, lectures and practical exercises.
- Volunteering program now unites 90 trained volunteers who provides emotional support, practical, informational help for cancer patients during treatment.