A year after it was kicked off, the ‘Arogyakeralam’ Palliative Care Project is set to reach hundreds of needy patients in the city very soon. The project, that caters to the terminally ill, bedridden patients with the promise of financial and emotional support, was launched by the government last year.
The identification of patients, concluded last month, has put the figures in the capital city at 500 and medical treatment for some has already begun.
Envisaged under a first-of-its-kind palliative care policy, the state government had conceived the project wherein the bedridden patients are treated and consoled through a network of home care services neatly blending the support of community, local self-governments and health care centres.
The project implemented by the Institute of Palliative Medicine has the support of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
Though only a month old with the patients, the palliative care volunteers have sensed that it is more than just physical help that they need.
‘’Around 500 patients have been identified now and we have already started giving them the medical aid. We have come to realise that the patients are not only looking for physical help but are in need of emotional and financial support too. This is only a beginning and with time we hope to fulfil the needs of the patients who we take under our wings,’’ said Vijayakumaran, a social worker and one of the main coordinators of the programme.
Shabhana Sheikh and Sreekumar, two other coordinators who have been promoting the idea among people and inspiring many to turn volunteers under the programme, also air the same view. They really hope more volunteers would add to the reach of the programme.
Presently, the patients identified under the project can seek medical aid at four hospitals - Fort, Poonthura, Kadakampally and Nemom.
Eighty Corporation wards have been divided into four sections and the patients in respective wards are to utilise the service of the respective hospitals. A fifth primary centre at Vattiyoorkavu would soon be ready with the medical aid, covering the rest of the 20 wards, volunteers said.
The transportation facilities for the patients to the hospital will be arranged by the City Corporation if necessary.
ASHA workers, anganwadi teachers and residents’ associations are also putting in their bit to take the programme to more needy patients.