Andhra Pradesh | Published on: January 6, 2012

From the Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh edition of The Hindu, 6 January 2012:

Need for palliative care stressed

Roughly, there are two lakh cancer patients needing palliative care in State

There are countless number of patients, suffering from incurable ailments, in the capital and elsewhere who endure pain in silence. Such patients and their families are not aware of the applications of palliative care in controlling the pain and in the process lead a quality life, until it lasts.

Families also struggle to accept the fact that the terminally ill patients do not need a ‘cure’ but instead need palliative care to heal the pain. “There is a need for specialised palliative care departments in hospitals. It is not just cancer, patients due to other ailments like HIV, muscular dystrophy, dementia, end-stage and heart problems need pain relief. We are unnecessarily allowing them to endure pain in silence,” says executive member, Pain Relief and Palliative Care Society (PRPCS), Dr. Rohina R. Gupta.To drive home the virtues of palliative care and also to highlight the plight of terminally ill patients, the society is screening a documentary ‘Life Before Death’. The screening of the documentary will coincide with World Cancer Day, which is in the first week of February.

Palliative care is aimed at providing the patients with pain and symptom relief, spiritual and social support till the end of life. “Roughly, there are two lakh cancer patients needing palliative care in the State. This is in addition to patients suffering from other incurable diseases. Of them, only one per cent have access to morphine, which is a pain reliever and the rest just suffer in silence,” Dr. Rohina said.

Like many cancer hospitals, community cancer centres for HIV positive persons, secondary and primary health centres do not have palliative care departments. Such facilities do not have the necessary medications, including morphine, or trained health care workers.

“There is a need for develop State and national-level palliative care policies and strategies. Community-based and institution-based palliative cure is the need of the hour,” Dr. Rohina pointed out.The movie ‘Life Before Death’ is a multi-award winning documentary series that showcases the journey of health care professionals in 11 countries and their attempts to help terminal patients who desperately need palliative care. The documentary ‘Life Before Death’ comprises a feature film, 50 short films and a television documentary.Persons interested in contributing to palliative care can contact: 94916-66688

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