The State government is planning to start palliative care services, Minister K.T. Rama Rao has said. Sources in the Health department said that a centre dedicated to the services is being mulled.
Efforts to reduce the suffering in end stages of patients suffering from terminal illness such as cancer is known as palliative care. According to World Health Organisation, “Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and that of their families who are facing challenges associated with life-threatening illness, whether physical, psychological, social or spiritual”.
Currently, these services are provided free of cost at some government hospitals in the State such as the MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Centre in Red Hills here.
Since it is the only facility dedicated to cancer treatment, thousands of patients opt for medical services there. As patients suffering from various stages of cancer visit the hospital, at least 1,000 terminally-ill patients require palliative care services.
Institute director N. Jayalatha said they have some beds in each of the wards, dedicated to palliative care. “Besides, we have a 10-bed palliative ward. There are plans to expand this ward. Five mobile vehicles are used to provide these services at the homes of patients throughout the week. Caretakers are trained in this regard,” she said.
The staff at the hospital helps patients who cannot perform basic tasks such as cleaning themselves or eating.
Palliative care consultant at the hospital Gayatri Palat said they check 70-80 patients in need of the services every day. People from neighbouring States such as Chhattisgarh and Karnataka districts bordering Telangana visit the hospital too.