Bengaluru: In a bid to provide more specialized palliative care, the state government has now resolved to include “palliative care” as an essential part of curriculum within the existing medicine, nursing and paramedical courses. Special Palliative care units will be set up for the duration of the program within hospitals, reported TOI.
A policy with regard to this has been introduced on Tuesday by the state government, which will cater to the special needs within hospitals, while aiming to train medical undergraduates in the subject.
Dr PV Ramamani, retired senior specialist and state coordinator of the policy, confirmed the news stating said: “A two-year programme includes training teams in all six district, establishing a palliative care unit in each district hospital and Suvarna Arogyashree Suraksha Trust (SAST) empanelled hospitals, creating awareness among professionals at Primary Health Centres. It’ll make palliative care essential drugs along with oral morphine available at all centres, monitor and document the programme and incorporate palliative care in the curriculum of medicine, nursing and paramedical courses at the graduate level.”
It will be a two year program, initially to be implemented within six districts including Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Raichur, Dharwad and Hassan. Other districts will be taken up gradually.
As per the policy, the state coordinator will be solely responsible to monitor all units, with the policy supervising training of nurses and doctors in government hospitals in palliative care.
The new policy will also ensure availability of essential drugs in all drug stores specially hospital pharmacies including rural areas, to be given to such patients who need palliative care. (patients who suffer from chronic illness and need special physical, physiological and medicine care)
Karnataka has become the third such state after Maharashtra and Kerala to have a specialized policy on palliative care.
Dr K B Linge Gowda, Kidwai Director, Institute of Oncology, quoted: “Palliative care is not known completely even in the medical fraternity. Most students are not inspired to take it up. In Kidwai, we get 12,000 new patients every year that require palliative care. However, not enough specialised doctors are available.”
While asking MCI to give approval to palliative care into curriculum at the graduation level, he said “Apart from Kidwai Institute of Oncology, institutes like St. Johns Hospital, Baptist Hospital and HCG Cancer Hospital do train doctors and nurses in palliative care. However, the Medical Council of India should include palliative care in the curriculum at the graduation level. Kidwai may have a degree course from the coming academic year once we get MCI approval.”
Labelling the policy move of the state government as beneficial, Dr Prabha Seshachar, senior specialist, palliative medicine department, KIO, stated, “We’ve been having training sessions for ASHA workers and volunteers in rural areas for the past eight years. While the first few sessions saw many interested workers and volunteers, most could not continue later due to their existing work. Now that the policy will incentivise ASHA workers in palliative care giving, we expect more workers in training sessions.”