BENGALURU: A palliative care cell inaugurated recently at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology here is the first such cell in a government set up. Palliative medicine is a concept of total care aimed at providing relief of physical symptoms and addressing social, psychosocial and spiritual needs of the patient and their family going through chronic incurable illness.
Karnataka is the third state to get a palliative care policy approved after Kerala and Maharashtra.
Kidwai director K B Lingegowda said, “The Health Department has allocated `4 crore for this project. This will be independent of the palliative medicine department that we already have.
This cell will act as a training centre. A state coordinator, Dr P V Ramamani, will coordinate training of doctors, nurses and pharmacists in six districts -- Hassan, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Raichur and Dharwad from here.”
Initially it will be tried in these six districts as a pilot project and later be extended to all districts. The suffering from incurable progressive, diseases like Cancer, HIV and end-stage renal diseases, cardiac and respiratory diseases are different from acute reversible illness.
These patients (men/women/children) suffer from various physical, psychological, social and spiritual problems. Many of these problems can be addressed by simple methods to decrease the suffering in the last stage of life and this is the main aim of palliative care.
Physical symptoms like severe pain, intractable breathlessness, fungating wounds, nausea and vomiting and foul-smelling discharges lead to psychological problems like depression, anger, denial and emotional isolation. Medical professionals will be sensitised to such possibilities.
They will also be trained to counsel the patients to address their social problems of loss of employment, children dropping out from school, losing home and getting into debts and financial burden to meet the treatment cost.