The philosophy and practice of palliative care have evolved significantly over the last few decades, given that an estimated 40 million terminally ill and dying people need palliative care every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested a minimum period of training for health care professionals to incorporate palliative care into primary health care and to improve equitable access to palliative care services. In this context, Pallium India’s Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS), the WHO collaborating Centre for Training and Policy on Access to Pain Relief, in association with Aarupadai Veedu Medical College (AVMC) Puducherry, conducted a 10-day foundation training program for palliative care professionals (doctors and nurses) in the union territory of Puducherry. This course emphasizes the importance of psychosocial, emotional and spiritual issues along with physical problems in chronically ill patients.
The program started with a formal inauguration ceremony followed by introductory sessions on the basic definition of pain, pathophysiology and assessment. There were also interactive sessions on WHO Ladder (Step I&II) and case scenarios / prescriptions based discussion. The subsequent days dealt with communication to medical & barriers, Step III (Opioids) Mechanism of action, Dosage & Management, Opioid availability/ Regulations for RMI, Home care needs, components etc. Nine expert resource persons were part of this training program.
The last four days of this program were dedicated to clinical posting where the participants could interact with patients within the hospital and got an excellent exposure to home care visits in nearby villages. A recap on their experiences during clinical posting was conducted in the morning session every next day. The ten days program concluded with a valedictory function in which Dr Rajagopal, Chairman of Pallium India, was the chief guest along with the Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation (VMRF) leadership members. All the faculty members were felicitated during this event and certificates were distributed to all trainees who had cleared the exams.
These 10 days of foundation training for doctors and nurses enabled the participants to learn how to integrate palliative care’s standard procedures into primary healthcare. The program’s clinical posting was the most notable accomplishment which allowed participants to get first hand exposure of the inpatient facilities and home care visits in nearby villages. This combined training initiative was a first-of-its-kind in Puducherry.
Thanks to the overwhelming and resounding success of this training, Pallium India will associate with more stakeholders in Puducherry for conducting similar on-site training sessions. The 29 trainees who attended the program will be the flag bearers in their own institutions and in Puducherry to ensure appropriate palliative care is delivered.
(Report prepared by Vishnu PR, State Facilitation Team, Pallium India.)