Market Introduction – Palliative Care: Convenience Of A Hospital, Ease Of Home !

palliative healthcare

When in the grips of a dire medical condition, the comfort of home is something most of us would prefer to the sterile environs of a hospital. This is something 83% Indians, inhabitants of the world’s second most populous country, would actually prefer as per a study conducted by Cipla Palliative Care Institute, Pune, and yet most people spend their last days, or their most medically painful time, in hospitals. This is why the world over, and now in India too, a specialty known as palliative care is getting more attention.

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Palliative care involves making available professional medical care team to patients with serious health conditions such as cancer, conditions related to old age or injury in the comfort of their own homes. The comprehensive care addresses not just physical but social, emotional and spiritual aspects of the patients’ wellbeing in a holistic way. Most terminal or very serious ailments impact the life of not just the person suffering the symptoms, but also immediate care givers – primarily family members who must cope with the demands of their own lives, bear the emotional trauma of watching a loved one suffer and also have the resources to cater to the physical demands of the patient.

Palliative care encompasses indirect care and direct support for them from the stage of diagnosis, to after bereavement if the need arises. Health Care at Home (HCAH), which enjoys an 80% market share in UK, provides a range of end of life care (EOLC) services including personal care, domestic care, auxiliary care, social care and nursing care. From providing medical equipment, access to certified nurses to purchasing medication and coordinating with doctors overseeing the therapy, our brand can step in to ease the distress of dire medical emergencies and long-term ailments including cancer.

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Though private entities like HCAH provide services pan-India, the palliative care scenario in rural India is still bleak. This is a pity because studies like the “End of Life Care Policy for the Dying: Consensus Position Statement of Indian Association of Palliative Care” reveal that End Of Life Care (EOLC) at home is the most cost effective, relevant and practical option in the Indian setting. This is where the government also must step in.

As a specialty, palliative care was developed from the 1960s in the West, and got the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO) now that non-communicable diseases are on the rise. WHO took cognizance of this aspect of medical care at the 67th World Health Assembly in May 2014 when the decision to integrate palliative care into national health services was taken. Furthermore, the need to train doctors and nurses and incorporate this specialty in the curriculum for undergraduate and post-graduate medical and nursing courses was also recognized.

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Baby steps have been taken in India with states like Maharashtra and Kerala having spelled out a definite palliative care policy. In India it is estimated that the number of patients requiring this service is 10 million – one million of whom are affected by cancer and seven million by other life limiting diseases. One million reside in Maharashtra alone and specifically the rural tracts making it necessary for the government to step in with the requisite expertise and services. Recent breakthroughs like AIIMS starting an MD in this facet of medical care also means more medical and nursing graduates are being incorporated into the palliative care workforce.

We applaud government initiative and are also working in right earnest alongside to ensure more citizens are made aware of this facility so they can focus on what is important – their own emotional and physical well being, when the disease strikes.

(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors.All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article)

About The Author:

palliative care authorUsha Prabhakar, Senior Head of Nursing, Health Care at Home India Pvt. Ltd. is a senior healthcare professional with 18 years of extensive experience in Clinical Nursing. Usha has been previously employed as Nursing Superintendent, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Research Centre. She has previously also worked with Rockland Hospitals, King George Hospitals and Barking. Usha has also been involved with the teaching program for Nursing at Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, London.

An Alumna of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Usha oversees clinical activity undertaken pan India at Health Care at Home India.

Image Source: medinterlomas.com

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