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       A heavenly abode for terminally ill
 
        K C Asok
         Posted on :19:08:45 May 15, 2018
   
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       Last edited on:11:03:10 May 16, 2018
         Tags: palliative care, pallium india, arumana hosp
 

At a time when most private hospitals in India have become money-looting health care centres, can you ever imagine a hospital where treatment is totally free for terminally ill and those with debilitating diseases? Currently, located at Perunthani near West Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, this low-profile hospital has been a succour for hundreds of patients, some of them whose days are numbered.

By the way, this hospital will be shifted to a block at PMS College of Dental Sciences & Research, at Vattapara, within a few months.

The hospital is the centre of activities of Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Science (TIPS), a WHO-Collaborating Centre for Training and Policy on Access to Pain Relief in Trivandrum. TIPS was established in 2006 for palliative care training and community oriented palliative care services in South Asia. It is an organ of Pallium India which is a national registered charitable trust formed in 2003 for rendering quality palliative care for doomed patients in India. Dr. M.R.Rajagopal, popularly known as the Father of Indian Palliative care, is the founder and director of TIPS.

At TIPS, there is a cluster of experienced, senior doctors, nurses and attenders who are ever willing to serve with a smile on their face. The nurses and other staff here are those who have prioritized social service, in their life. Patients who reach here find themselves greatly relieved of pain and embarrassment inflicted by their serious health conditions.

“Doctors here find the real cause of the pain or discomfort a critically ill patient undergoes, find the apt remedy or method to alleviate the suffering. My brother, a cancer patient was brought here from a private hospital in Pattom with swollen abdomen; the doctors there said his kidney is down but the doctors here found that the swelling was due to constipation… Within hours, the staff here relieved him of that condition,” says Raju from Varkala

Working under the concept of care-beyond-cure, the unit at Arumana hospital building started functioning only four years ago.  Before that it functioned as separate departments in several hospitals in the City. Apart from in/out -patient service, a section for physiotherapy run by eminent ortho-surgeons and a physical rehabilitation centre is also an integral part of this centre.

“Most patients coming here are people with incurable health conditions. To revive them back to life may be difficult. Some, if not their bystanders, may be awaiting the imminent death anytime. It is here our service, care and palliative treatment become relevant. We try our best to alleviate the pain of such patients,” says Manoj, CEO of Pallium India.

The TIPS emphasizes on the need for emotional support to the family members of the patients, as well. Soon after a terminally ill patient is admitted, his or her kin or bystanders are given a counselling of sorts to prepare them for any eventuality.

 

 

“What is unbelievable is that the hospital doesn’t charge even single paisa for treatment when private hospitals charges lakhs of money to treat and complicate distressing health conditions. Only they charge room rent here, since the hospital building is a rented one,” says Jalajamony, whose husband was a beneficiary of TIP’s service.  

 The Palliative care project also involves improving quality of life of people with life-limiting or disabling diseases. Home visits by doctors, nurses and paramedical staff here are made frequently to terminally ill patients’ homes.

For the kin of the patients, coming from poor financial circumstances, the Centre helps them eke out a living. If there are children among them who are on the verge of becoming drop-outs, the Centre will help them continue their studies.

“TIPS is working in collaboration with several national and international organisations to improve the accessibility and affordability of pain relief drugs (opioids) and other low cost medicines for the needy patients. In the last 10 years, 30 such centres were started by Pallium India in 21 states (including Union Territories) which till then had no or negligible palliative care facilities,” explains Anjali, a former project executive of Pallium India.

Run purely on donations, TIPS, the non-profit charity health care centre, also conducts research and training programmes for medical fraternity and those interested in volunteering its services.

“Millions of people are suffering from excruciating pain due to diseases like cancer. If we care, we can help patients to live with dignity and die with dignity,” adds Padmasree Dr Rajagopal.

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