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MD Course in Palliative Care to Provide Much Needed Relief to Patients at Kidwai

State run Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology will now offer an MD course in palliative care to deal with acute shortage of staff in the field. The institute is also planning to set up a hospice for terminally ill patients.

Terminally ill patients at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru, will now get the much-needed help as the state-run cancer hospital has decided to start an exclusive Doctor of Medicine (MD) course in palliative care.

Palliative care, which focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical and mental stress of a serious illness – whatever the diagnosis, faces extreme shortage of experts and skilled professionals.

Only Tata Memorial Hospital and AIIMS, Delhi have this as a separate discipline. Kidwai already provides free palliative care to its patients and if the course is approved by the state government, it will come as a relief to thousands of patients who visit the hospital every day.


Photo: UBC Arts/Flickr

The palliative care unit gets about 2,000 new patients and 10,000 follow-up patients every day. The patients need special attention along with counselling and care.

Dealing will terminally ill and cancer patients requires a holistic approach. Both physical assistance and mental support should be given, which becomes difficult with such staff shortage. As of now, there are five doctors in palliative care at the institute.

The course will help this centre take better care of its patients. Kidwai institute is also planning to set up a hospice facility in the campus. Patients can stay in the palliative care for three days after which they can either go to their homes or to the hospice.

A proposal is ready to set up a 100-bed hospice facility at Karunashraya, an in-house facility for advanced cancer patients with last stage disease. The project will cost Rs. 20 crores and the hospital authorities are waiting for donors for the same.

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