The partnership signifies establishing a compassionate community for palliative care in the region.
‘We seek to connect those in need with those who can provide meaningful assistance.’
Abu Dhabi: Burjeel Holdings, one of the leading healthcare providers in the MENA region, and St. Christopher’s Hospice, recognized as the first modern hospice and one of the global pioneers in palliative care, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a compassionate community in the UAE, with a hospice at the focal point for the initiative. The partnership between both entities also marks the establishment of a comprehensive hospice in the country at Burjeel Holdings’ flagship Burjeel Medical City.
The signing of the MoU represents a pivotal moment in the UAE’s healthcare landscape as the initiative is set to transform how end-of-life care is delivered, offering extensive support and comfort to patients and their families. The MoU was signed in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed bin Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation.
“This agreement represents an opportunity to make a positive, lasting change in the field of healthcare. I am confident this partnership will not only benefit the two institutions but will also contribute to serving the community. Through such collaborations, we can face challenges, seize opportunities, and create a better tomorrow,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
The MoU was signed on behalf of Burjeel Holdings by Mr. Omran Al Khoori, Member, Board of Directors, and President, Business Development, and on behalf of St. Christopher’s Hospice by Dr. Heather Richardson, Director of Education, Research, and End-of-Life Policy.
The compassionate community established through this partnership will focus on delivering palliative care services that address the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of patients with life-limiting illnesses. It will offer pain management, psychological support, counseling services, and a range of complementary therapies to ensure patients receive comprehensive care tailored to their individual needs. The aim is to engage with the wider community to raise awareness of the issues faced by patients and their families dealing with a life-limiting illness.
Mr. John Sunil, CEO of Burjeel Holdings, commented on the significance of this partnership, stating, “We are thrilled to join hands with St. Christopher’s Hospice, a globally recognized institution in the field of palliative care. This collaboration signifies our commitment to enhancing palliative care services in the UAE and underscores our dedication to providing the highest quality healthcare services to our community.”
St. Christopher’s Hospice, founded in 1967 by Dame Cicely Saunders, is renowned for its work in palliative and end-of-life care. The hospice is internationally recognized for its compassionate and holistic approach to patient care, making it an ideal partner for Burjeel Holdings in this ambitious undertaking.
“We are proud to partner with Burjeel Holdings. The collaboration between our two entities will have a lasting impact on individuals and their families facing life-limiting illnesses in the UAE. It will also shed light on the importance of compassionate end-of-life care and its positive effect on patients’ quality of life and the well-being of their loved ones,” Dr. Heather said.
The scope of the partnership also includes joint research and educational endeavors and the establishment of a palliative care research base in the UAE. The MoU also seeks to create specialized training pathways for nurses and doctors across the UAE, ensuring that healthcare professionals are equipped with the necessary skills to provide high-quality palliative care. As part of the collaborative efforts, the entities will explore further the development of palliative care services throughout the UAE.
Additionally, establishing the first hospice in the UAE is a significant milestone. This hospice will serve as a center of excellence in palliative care, providing a supportive and tranquil environment for patients and their families. The facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and staffed by a dedicated team of healthcare professionals with expertise in palliative care.
“It’s evident from our conversations with patients under our care that there exist prevalent misconceptions about end-of-life issues and a significant lack of public awareness regarding the benefits of palliative care. Our understanding underscores a pressing need within the community — there are individuals who require assistance, and others are willing to offer support but might not be sure how to do so. Our compassionate community initiative aims to leverage the social capital inherent in our community. This initiative seeks to bridge the gap by connecting those in need with those who can provide meaningful assistance,” said Dr. Neil Arun Nijhawan, Consultant Hospice & Palliative Medicine, Director of Palliative & Supportive Care, Burjeel Cancer Institute.
The event was attended by members of the senior leadership, including Prof. Abdel Rahman Ahmed Omer, Group Medical Director, Burjeel Holdings, Dr. Aysha Al Mahri, Deputy CEO of Burjeel Medical City, and Mr. Naser Al Riyami, COO – Projects, Burjeel Holdings.