Thiruvananthapuram

A gentle push with ‘halfway homes’

Imagine having to wake up one day without the use of your arms or limbs. It is not a situation your imagination can prepare you for. With the number of road traffic accidents spiralling up, the numbers of those who are left crippled and wheelchair-bound permanently, often in the most productive phase of their life, are growing.

“Once they are discharged from the hospital, with a wheelchair in tow, everyone forgets about them. We assume that they get used to being wheelchair-bound. But very few people come to a healthy acceptance of their fate. Most of them go through severe psychological stress — denial, anger, bargaining — before sinking into depression. The trauma that the spouses go through is another unseen tragedy. We decided to take up the issue after we had to face a couple of painful situations wherein the young spouses of some of our paraplegic patients committed suicide,” says Dr. Rajagopal.

Psychological issues aside, it is not easy to start life on a wheelchair one morning. One needs training to learn how to get into and out of the wheelchair independently, how to use the toilet, bathe and dress independently, to remove the urine bag etc.

“Our palliative care teams would visit the houses to give these people professional counselling a well as training in daily living. But we found that very often, their homes have little privacy and this complicated issues. We thus introduced the ‘halfway home’ concept – the husband and the wife are brought to this hospice facility where they can cook and stay together for two to four weeks. During this time, they undergo psychological and physical evaluation and receive training in daily living and counselling on various issues — spiritual, sexual, diet guidance and physiotherapy,” Dr. Rajagopal says.



Under the Pallium India initiative the wheelchair-bound and the spouse stay at a hospice for a few weeks and get trained in daily living



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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 1:45:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/a-gentle-push-with-halfway-homes/article7598543.ece

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