Thiruvananthapuram

Rights-based approach for palliative care

The new policy envisages the integration of palliative care into all disciplines of medicine, enhancing the capability of the health system and service providers to meet the palliative care requirements of the State

Kerala, the first State to declare a comprehensive Palliative Care Policy in 2008, has now assimilated its decade-old experience to declare a new and revised policy. The new policy has at its core a rights-based approach and a commitment that none who requires palliative care will be left behind.

Kerala Palliative Care Policy, 2019 was released by Health Minister K.K. Shylaja here on Wednesday. The new policy was drafted by an expert committee headed by former Chief Secretary S. Vijayanand.

The new policy envisages the integration of palliative care into all disciplines of medicine, enhancing the capability of the health system and service providers to meet the palliative care requirements of the State, strengthening community participation in palliative care services, and building partnerships with all stakeholders, private health sector and Ayush services to improve the delivery of palliative care to the needy.

One of the highlights of the policy is that it clearly charts out how palliative care services should be planned and delivered at the primary-care level, secondary level, and for the first time, at the tertiary-care level, where lack of palliative care services hitherto has been putting many sick people through the needless suffering of pain.

A division of the Palliative Care Medicine will be set up in District and General Hospitals and as part of the Community Medicine Department in all medical colleges (to be later developed as a full-fledged Department of Palliative Medicine with training and research capacity).

The new policy gives thrust on training and capacity building at all levels. Improving access to opioids and other essential medicines and supplies relevant to palliative care is an important change in the new policy.

The government will have to revise the essential drug list.

For the first time, the new policy also touches upon the need to ensure the socio-economic rehabilitation and promotion of livelihoods of people with debilitating illnesses, by helping them acquire skills.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:45:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/kerala-releases-revised-palliative-care-policy-2019/article30278132.ece

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