This is a summary of reports received from various locations.
Dr Geeta Joshi
Trustees of Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute joined 100 school students, and 50 cancer patients and the members of their families in celebrating World Hospice and Palliative Care Day at the Institute’s Community Oncology Centre, at Vasna, Ahmedabad.
The chief guest was Leelaben Zadafiya, a cancer survivor. The dignitaries released book in Gujarati, Cancer mati shake che (Cancer is curable). Magician Subhashbhai Gupta entertained one and all.
Members in the audience came forward to talk about their personal palliative care experiences. Their warm words were very inspiring.
This year, World Hospice and Palliative Care Day coincided with the festival of karwa chauth. Traditionally, wives fast on this day for the health and wellbeing of their husbands. The palliative care team at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh helped the patients and their caregivers celebrate the occasion. Women applied mehendi, wore new bangles and dressed up for the occasion. A small puja was also organised.
Special guests at a get-together organised on the occasion included Dr Firuza Patel, who pioneered palliative care services at the institute, Dr S.C Sharma, former head of radiotherapy department and Dr Sushmita Ghosal, the current head of radiotherapy department, PGIMER. Dr Firuza spoke about the importance of palliative care and how it improves the quality of life of patients. Volunteers were also advised about cancer screening and the importance of early detection.
Emmanuel Hospital Association
Dr Ann Thyle
The seven hospitals of the Emmanuel Hospital Association celebrated World Hospice and Palliative Care Day with different events that honoured patients, reiterated our support for families and publicized the scope of and access to palliative care at all our hospitals.
A report from GM Priya Hospital, Dapegaon typically depicts aspects of the events. This small hospital in Ausa Taluka, Latur District, Maharashtra, started palliative care services in the surrounding villages in 2012, with the long-term goal of being able to provide complete palliative coverage in this region.
On World Hospice and Palliative Care Day they took a unified stance for each person’s right to live and to die with dignity. Patients, their families, and other village folk were invited to the hospital. There was a candle light tribute to the beloved patients who had passed on.
The District Health Officer, Dr Shelke, the Guest of Honour, spoke about the importance of end-of-life care. He spoke of various government schemes that patients could avail of and praised the palliative care effort our hospital, stating that the services reached levels where care was most needed. School children also participated in the programme.
Similar functions took place at all seven hospitals. Very moving stories and videos deeply impacted the team members at each hospital. Each one left with a renewed sense of hope in the goodness of mankind and the firm belief that dignity in death is truly a basic human right that needs to be asserted.
Dr Kabindra Bhagabati
Dr A C Kataki, Director, Dr B Borooah Cancer institute, the Regional Cancer Centre at Guwahati, inaugurated the Wall Magazine of the Department of Palliative Medicine on October 11. Dr M Bhattacharrya, Additional Professor of Radiotherapy, released a new patient information leaflet about palliative care.
Addressing a gathering of doctors, nurses, volunteers, paramedics, social workers, patients and family members, Dr Kataki spoke about the importance of palliative care in north-east India, given the high incidence of cancer in the region. He said that more and more people should involve themselves in the delivery of care to the patients.
Dr Anjum Khan Joad
An awareness campaign was held to improve the level of awareness among the staff at Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital and Research Centre. Many of the team members wore a burgundy ribbon in support of palliative and hospice care.
Sohum Shah, actor and producer, who received the national award for his films Ship of Theseus and Gulabi Gang, was the chief guest. He threw light on the importance of palliative care for cancer patients. He shared his insights about issues faced by the families of terminally-ill patients. He encouraged the audience to volunteer and donate to help the cause of palliative care and urged young nurses and doctors to take up palliative care.
On October 4, the Cipla Centre team addressed 200 people who gathered at Wadhegaon village, Solapur. Dr Piyush Salunkhe-Patil, Medical Officer, Primary Health Centre, Sangola and other local doctors were among the special invitees.
On October 6, the team addressed about 50 doctors at Shivam Hospital, Loni Kalbhor.
Dr Rahul Kalbhor, who heads Shivam Hospital, said, “It is commendable that Cipla Centre is providing such a wonderful service free of cost. They have made it so much easier for the relatives of the patient, who find it difficult to get accommodation in the city when they come here to take care of a patient.”
Cipla Centre volunteers presented a skit on palliative care.
On October 7, the Cipla Centre team was at Tarachand Ramnath Hospital and spoke to nurses of the hospital, and faculty and students from Chetan Dattaji Gaikwad Nursing College, which is affiliated to the Hospital.
Members of the audience were most anxious to know about patient management during palliative care—how to take care of wounds, tracheostomy, colostomy and so on. The students expressed keen interest in various palliative care courses for nurses.
On October 8, well-known singer Vrushali Mavlankar presented a sugam sangeet recital, “Vrushaswar” at Cipla Centre. More than 40 patients, their caregivers and visitors enjoyed the programme.
In the afternoon, the team addressed more than 50 students and faculty members of Karve Institute of Social Service. Snehal Thakkar, a first-year student, found the interactive session on end-of-life care “very interesting and informative”.
October 9 marked the concluding session of the six-session series for the certificate course on palliative care conducted by Cipla Centre for the Indian Medical Association College of General Practitioners (IMA CGP).
The lecture was preceded by a dance depicting palliative care, presented by Nrutyavishkar troupe.
On October 10, the Cipla Centre team spoke to the members of Athashree Volunteer Bureau, an organisation of senior citizens who volunteer their services at various hospitals and healthcare facilities. They watched a general information presentation on end-of-life care, prepared jointly by the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) and the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM).
The audience asked several questions about the ethical and legal aspects of end-of-life care.
The same afternoon, the team addressed the staff at Indrayani Hospital and Cancer Research Centre, Alandi, Pune. The main topic of discussion was end-of-life care.
According to Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, Director, Indrayani Hospital, “We look at palliative care as part of the treatment for cancer.”
CanSupport, New Delhi
CanSupport celebrated “World Hospice and Palliative Care Week” from October 11 to 18, 2014. During the week a special souvenir was distributed free of cost to doctors in various medical institutions. The souvenir carried messages from Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health, and Mr. S.B. Shashank, Special Secretary and Drug Controller, Delhi. The souvenir reported various CanSupport activities and several features on cancer and palliative care.
With support from Dr. Reddy’s Foundation, CanSupport conducted a palliative care workshop at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Institute, Delhi. Dr. R. Mani made a presentation on “Guidelines for end-of-life and palliative care in Indian intensive care units”. Dr. Aman Sharma made a presentation on “Integrating palliative care with cancer care”. Forty-five doctors and nurses participated in the workshop.
A similar number of participants attended another workshop was conducted at ESI Hospital, Rohini. Dr. Reena Sharma made a presentation on “Introduction to palliative care and pain management”. Sister Savita made a presentation on “Nursing issues in palliative care” and Ms. Pallika made a presentation on “Psychosocial issues in palliative care”.