The national television channel Doordarshan (Malayalam) has been exceptionally supportive of palliative care. In their live phone-in program, Snehasparsham, palliative care has had a strong presence for the last several months.
One recent phone-in program was conducted by Dr M.C. Rajasree from Pain and Palliative Care Society, Calicut. The nature of questions clearly indicated how commonly patients and families were at a loss about whom to approach for help.
This is particularly relevant in India, where the “general practitioner” is practically non-existent and in practice, patients are left to find out for themselves which specialist to approach.
Dr Rajasree directed each questioner to the nearest palliative care unit for advice. This clearly demonstrates a hidden service that palliative care services are doing. They explain. They talk to patients and help to direct them to the appropriate medical service that would be suitable for them.
But the need for this service is not taken seriously, perhaps. Palliative care services in Kerala have by and large catered to general health needs of people.