Doctor’s trip overseas offers inspiration close to home

TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review

A Rimbey family physician who has devoted himself to helping others through the final stages of life’s journey will be the guest speaker of The Lacombe Palliative Care Society next month.

Dr. Kim Adzich will speak at St. Andrew’s United Church Hall in Lacombe at 7 p.m. on May 3. His presentation, entitled Share the Care, will focus on the palliative care program in the Central Zone and a palliative care service in Belgrade, Serbia.

During the last year he has supported BELhospice, a palliative care service in Belgrade, Serbia.

In September of last year he and his wife Margaret traveled to Serbia to see firsthand the work being done by a small team of dedicated professionals as they provide holistic palliative care to those dying of cancer in this city of two million people.

Adzich said he found the trip to Belgrade to be educational and helped him develop a greater understanding of the palliative care system in that country.

“So much of our work is actually similar,” he said. “It’s almost identical to what we do. They have education programs, they work in teams just like we do.”

However, the Rimbey doctor noted that in Serbia, palliative care receives no financial backing from their government.

“They have to rely totally on donations,” he said.

Adzich noted that the Regional Palliative Care Program in the Central Zone which is encompasses west to Nordegg, east to the Saskatchewan border, north to near Edmonton and south to near Calgary, is well supported through Alberta Health Services.

“We also have a very good relationship with home care, Red Deer Hospice and acute care and long term care facilities.

As medical advisor for the Regional Palliative Care Program, Adzich provides consultative services for patient care and helps develop and facilitate a variety of palliative care workshops for rural hospitals throughout the province.

He said he finds his work challenging and rewarding and is looking forward to sharing information about palliative care both in the central zone and in Serbia.

Adzich has been a physician in Rimbey for 18 years. Prior to coming to Rimbey, he practiced in a variety of locations including rural Nova Scotia, a First Nations community on the Queen Charlotte Islands, a small town on the South Island of New Zealand, and a World Vision feeding centre in Ethiopia.