Need to focus on palliative care, say experts

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NEW DELHI - With only 1 percent of terminally ill patient getting care in India, medical experts Thursday emphasised on the need to focus on palliative care in the country so that people suffering from non-curable diseases could die without pain.

According to doctors, 90 percent of patients in advanced stage of their disease prefer to die at home and for that there is need to provide palliative care to them.

During a round table discussion ‘Charting the future course of palliative care in India’ organised by NGO CanSupport, the experts emphasised that doctors and nurses should also be trained in palliative care.

“The Medical Council of India (MCI) has notified Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Palliative Care last year to ensure that doctors are trained in palliative care,” said Damodar Bachani, deputy director general (Non-Communicable Disease), Directorate General of Health services.

CanSupport also released a survey which found that 82 percent of people in Delhi have no clue about palliative care.

“Worldwide, more than 70 percent terminally ill patients suffer from agonizing pain and distress, either unaware of or unable to access the care they need. Palliative care is an urgent humanitarian need for people with life limiting illness,” said Harmala Gupta, founder of CanSupport.

The doctors said that palliative care services, if provided from time of diagnosis, can significantly improve quality of life and the ability to cope effectively with the disease.

“Euthanasia is not the answer to unrelieved pain. Palliative care can relieve most physical pain and suffering and offer greater care in terms of emotional, social and spiritual support for patients and caregivers,” said Sushma Bhatnagar, head of Department of Anesthesiology, AIIMS.

Filed under: Medicine

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