Mumbai gets one-of-its kind non-oncology palliative care unit

On the occasion of Hospice and Palliative Care day, PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre launched its palliative care service in the hospital. Its services will include pain relief treatment, counseling and OPD

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One of the prominent characters in the film Piku was played by Amitabh Bachchan as a doting yet open-minded father, who, in one of the scenes is ridiculed when Irrfan Khan (Rana in the film) says his father was put on the ventilator.

‘Comfort care’ or ‘palliative care’ is the need of the hour. It involves providing chronically ill patients with relief from the symptoms or pain associated with the disease and seeks to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Some of the diseases that come under this are cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.

Mr Gautam Khanna, CEO, P.D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre said, “At P.D. Hinduja Hospital, we always keep patients at the center of everything that we do. Through our palliative care services, we aim to provide excellent quality care to these patients and make them feel comfortable as much as possible.”

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The unit will be headed by Dr Rajam Iyer, Palliative Care Physician, PD Hinduja Hospital. “We always hear about palliative care for cancer patients. But those with other ailments too, need to be taken care of. Palliative care plays an important role in alleviating short-term symptoms and provides long-term support against chronic diseases.”

She added, “The unit will largely be for those patients who need to end life with care and dignity. It is important to understand that any patient has the right to die with all dignity and relief. We will be training more nurses and creating a team for the OPD here.”

Talking on the occasion, Dr. Roop Gursahani, Consultant Neurologist, P.D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre said, “Palliative care is a medical discipline that focuses more on relief than cure that is essential during the last years of life. There is very little or no awareness about the importance and need for palliative care all over India. Access to palliative care is equally low and therefore, patients who require palliative care often do not receive it. Through our palliative care services, we intend to change this scenario and provide best quality palliative care services to the sick.”

What will this non-oncology palliative care unit do? (Source: Dr Rajam Iyer)

1)  As practitioners, it’s our duty to explain and integrate palliative care with other specialisations.

2)  We must explain to the family and the patient about their illness and severity.

3) Enable patients to cope with fear.

4) Empower patients.

5) The charges would be nominal and reasonable.