Individuals with life-threatening diseases, and their families, require immense support which includes medical, financial and emotional assistance to ensure the best quality of life under severely stressful conditions.
Palliative care is a system of care whereby doctors, nurses and volunteers visit the houses of the terminally ill, often bed-ridden, patients. Home care is the distinctive feature of palliative care. The existing system of medical care, both in public and private sectors, is focused on curable diseases and does not address the unique needs of patients with incurable diseases. Most families, reeling under the economic and psychological pressures of the situation, are unable to provide the sympathy, understanding and atmosphere of loving care that the patient requires. In most of the cases, such patients become bed-ridden permanently, causing anxiety, feelings of helplessness and guilt, financial strain etc. The issues get compounded among families of those who are less privileged, unsettling the families in all respects. This is where palliative care steps in to alleviate the physical, psychological and social distress of the patient and family.
There are three types of home care
Home care conducted by doctor and volunteers
Home care conducted by volunteers under the leadership of trained nurses
By local volunteers who visit the homes of the patients
The three-tier home care system enables the team accurately assess the condition of the patient, and thereby provide all-rounded care as needed.
Since its inception in 2006, the Palliative Care unit of OWT has reached out to more than 900 patients. Cancer patients accounted for about 65% of these cases. Apart from cancer, OWT also provides assistance to patients who are paraplegic, quadriplegic, have dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/ AIDs etc. Under palliative care, patients are offered reprieve in the form of consultation, medicines, pain and symptom relief, and other aspects of nursing care that involve catheter change, dressing of wounds etc. free of cost.
The services offered include:
- Outpatient clinic
- Doctors’ home care
- Nurses’ home care
- Volunteers’ home care
- Finding sponsors to take care of education of children of the affected families
- Giving vocational training to some of the paraplegic patients, as part of a rehabilitation programme