There should be universal access to Palliative care

L. Gopalakrishnan, Managing Trustee, PSG Institutions at the launch of Santham

“WHO has classified India as a High Palliative Care Requirement region. To overcome this need of time there should be universal access to Palliative care. Hence it is the need of the hour for setting up such a department in our hospital,” said L.Gopalakrishnan, Managing Trustee, PSG Institutions at the formal inauguration of PSG Santham – a dedicated Palliative and Hospice care service, on Saturday (Oct 9) which is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.

He launched this service in the presence of Dr.Kezevino Aram, President, Shanthi Ashram, Dr. Smriti Rana, Director – Programs, Pallum India, Trivandrum, Dr. Balaji, Managing Trustee, Coimbatore Cancer Foundation, Dr. J.S.Bhuvaneswaran, Director, PSG Super Speciality Hospital and other guests.

Palliative care is a specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness, such as cancer or heart failure. Patients in palliative care may receive medical care for their symptoms, or palliative care, along with treatment intended to cure their serious illness. Palliative care is meant to enhance a person’s current care by focusing on quality of life for them and their family.

Like palliative care, Hospice care provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person’s illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has six months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.

Dr.Balaji who also serves as the Director of Oncology Institute at PSG took initiatives for the launch of this service. Earlier while welcoming the guests, he said that Palliative care has moved on from addressing the needs of terminal end of life cancer patients to now reaching out to those in chronic suffering resulting from lifestyle diseases like chronic renal or cardiac failure, stroke, dementia and many more life threatening chronic diseases.

He expressed that pursuit of individual aspirations, cultural changes, technological progress have all somehow changed the social fabric. The attachment among family members has also reduced today. Due to all these we have a challenging problem of an ageing population in need of help and support.

“What we started will be a holistic OP, IP, Respite care and Hospice. We will be addressing the physical, mental, social and spiritual needs of those under our care in a humane way adding value to their lives”

Dr.Balaji added that palliative care is not about just providing end of life support for cancer patients but extending it also for people with chronic suffering and helping people with renal failure, liver failure, dementia, Alzheimer, stroke etc.  And these palliative services shall also be provided to children who are terminally ill.

He shared that Home care services shall also be provided, where the staff go to the patients’ home to provide physiotherapy, medical care, dressing, rehabilitation support and those things  that will make patients comfortable and able to handle life in much more dignified way. This is to add quality of life to patients and also to give them a chance to feel they are part of our society.

Respite Care was also formally introduced today as a part of the palliative and hospice care service. When a family would like to attend a long –distance function or a family fest, they can leave their elderly member here for a short duration, and they will be cared for. Dr.Balaji said that it will be like a Grown-Up crèche.

He assured that nobody will be denied of these facilities because of money-related hiccups. If they are genuinely in need of it but cannot afford it, the Department will try to find them a sponsor and support shall be provided.

He expressed thanks to Pallum India for their support, and he hinted that a certificate course in Palliative care will started at PSG with their help.