Making last days of dying as painless as possible is what palliative care services attempt to achieve.

Nutritious food, willingness to listen to the patient and some cheer can make the final days before death happier, believes a Villianur-based organisation that has started to offer voluntary palliative care for bed-ridden patients.

Sevalayam, a non-profit trust organisation has roped in volunteers, mostly students of nursing and home science, to provide basic palliative care at homes in Puducherry.

Care is provided to patients who are bedridden or diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer, HIV-AIDS and severe disabilities. Presently the organisation is offering services in Embalam and surrounding areas.

As nutrition is an important part of palliative care around 100 students of the Home Science Department at Acharya College of Arts and Science were trained by nutrition experts in preparing nutritious food, at a training programme this week.

The organisation conducts similar programmes for students, where an opportunity is presented to volunteers for palliative care services.

Simple foods will be prepared by volunteers in the patient’s kitchen, according to dietary instructions given by the doctor.

“People who are bedridden feel they are a burden to their families and the society. Such people need a word of cheer and a boost of confidence more than nutritious food,” says Chitra Sankar, trustee, Sevalayam. “The volunteers will thus spend time with the patient and talk to them.”

Volunteers with nursing background will carry out fundamental care like changing bedsheets and taking care of the patient. The visits are scheduled on a weekly basis.

The organisation is in the process of signing a MoU with a leading hospital in Puducherry to provide home-based care for patients on its palliative list. “Just because someone is dying, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some happiness,” feels Mr. Sankar.


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