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Updated: May 7, 2011 17:46 IST

Guided by compassion

Aruna Chandaraju
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THE COMFORT OF A HELPING HAND... Photo: K. Ananthan
THE COMFORT OF A HELPING HAND... Photo: K. Ananthan

Dr. Nagesh Simha, President, Indian Association of Palliative Care, says caregivers need enormous patience and compassion…

When is palliative care necessary?

When any disease has gone beyond cure. The commonest cases are cancer, HIV-AIDS, end-stage kidney failure, end-stage cardiac failure, and neurological problems. Palliative care tries to improve quality of life in the last days.

Are treatment facilities in India adequate?

No. Currently, the number of centres offering palliative care in India is grossly inadequate. They cater to only one per cent of those needing it.

Why?

First, lack of awareness among the medical profession and the general public. Second, difficulty in obtaining morphine.

What qualities should a person giving palliative-care have?

Most important — compassion. Then, enormous patience. Finally, appropriate resources.

For a list (not comprehensive) of institutes offering palliative care in India, see:

www.palliativecare.in

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