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INDIA, Gohri Maphi, July 15th, 2017           
Kirtan and Meditation at the Hospice

Dr Monika from AIMS Hospital led a kirtan and meditation session at Ganga Prem Hospice on Saturday 15th July 2017 from 4.00pm to 5.30pm.



Kirtan at the Hospice
Kirtan at the Hospice
Staff and patients meditate together
Staff and patients meditate together

 

 

 The lively kirtan was enjoyed by GPH staff along with inpatients and a number of home care patients who had come especially for the event. The kirtan was followed by a short pranayama and meditation session. During the kirtan everyone was clapping and singing to their hearts content. An elderly home care patient in a wheelchair said it was astonishing that usually she could not sit for more than 10 minutes at a time but that she had sat through more than one hour during the programme without the slightest difficulty. Her son shed tears of joy to see her smiling and singing and spoke of his gratitude to GPH saying that he had no words to express how much he and his family appreciated all that the Hospice had done for them.


Kamal and Rakesh, the cooks, bringing out the snacks
Kamal and Rakesh, the cooks, bringing out the snacks

After the kirtan, tea and pakoras sponsored by a GPH staff member were served to all. The dining area was full of joy and laughter as everyone tucked into their snacks.

 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh, June 25th, 2017      
June Clinic

The Ganga Prem Hospice monthly charitable cancer clinic for the month of June 2017 fell on the day preceding the festival of Eid. With long-weekend crowds swelling in the roads around Rishikesh, patients found it hard to reach the clinic from outside the town.

In spite of the holiday, it was still a busy clinic with 77 total patients, 47 of whom were cancer cases. It was also a sombre clinic, as an advanced stage cancer patient expired at the clinic. The Ganga Prem Hospice medical director, Dr AK Dewan, personally supervised the after-death procedures and spoke to the family.

With the opening of the Hospice inpatient facility, the outpatient cancer clinics now have the added dimension of screening patients for admittance. There were three patients at the clinic on June 25 who will be relocating to the hospice for in-patient care. One of these individuals was driven to the facility in the Ganga Prem Hospice vehicle following his visit to the clinic.



Sister Mamata distributes free medicines
Sister Mamata distributes free medicines
Driver Amir wheels a patient out of the clinic
Driver Amir wheels a patient out of the clinic

 

 


Although the total number of patients seen was somewhat fewer than usual, it was still an intense and lengthy clinic as 61% of the patients were cancer cases. In total, there were eleven cases of oral cancer, with cancer of the tongue surpassing breast cancer as most the most common malignancy. Oncologists Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma were busy with patients throughout the day. The nurses also were involved in a variety of jobs, as there were patients receiving intravenous drips, others who required dressing changes, and the one patient who needed post-mortem care.

Palliative care doctor Chitra Rajendran spoke to patients, recorded relevant details for follow-up care, and assessed patients for hospice admission needs.


Gynaecologist Dr Saxena with a patient
Gynaecologist Dr Saxena with a patient
Medical student observes Dr Dewan with a patient
Medical student observes Dr Dewan with a patient

 

 


As always a volunteer gynaecologist and ayurvedacharya provided support to the oncologists at the clinic. Volunteers helped with the registration process and other clinic operations. A visiting medical student from the University of California, Berkeley, observed the clinic operations as part of her research study on palliative care in India.


  Medicines were distributed free of charge by the clinic pharmacist and refreshments provided to patients. 
Drivers Vijay and Amir distribute fruit juice
Drivers Vijay and Amir distribute fruit juice
 
 


INDIA, Gohri Maphi, June 21 2017     
Ganga Prem Hospice Mandir Kalash Sthapana

A team of masons from Rajisthan have been building the Hospice temple which already looks beautiful. On 19th June the kalash was put in place with the traditional puja.

The exterior of the Ganga Prem Hospice temple, which is being built on the Ganga side of the inpatient facility, has been finished in a beautiful pink engraved stone by temple masons from Rajisthan. On the 19th June the topmost part, the kalash was set in place and the masons performed a traditional puja with Ganga water, flowers, sandalwood paste, sacred thread, incense and a ghee lamp. 



The mason doing the Kalash puja
The mason doing the Kalash puja
Hospice family taking prasad
Hospice family taking prasad

 

 


Everyone watched the puja from the ground and then took prasad in the form of a sandalwood tilak and halwa that had been sponsored by a Hospice supporter.  Patients and staff enjoyed the first Hospice event together and look forward to the consecration of the temple.

The two days following the Kalashsthapana saw sweets and a feast being offered to everyone by supporters of the Hospice to commemorate a Nirvana Divas and a special anniversary.


 


INDIA, Gohri Maphi, June 5th, 2017  
GPH Inpatient Facility Opens

After 12 years of dedicated work from staff, volunteers and supporters, the Ganga Prem Hospice inpatient facility finally opened its doors to patients on the 5th of June, 2017.

As the first patient was brought into the facility on a wheelchair, a new phase began for Ganga Prem Hospice. Although the Hospice has been offering free cancer camps and daily home care services since 2006, the main aim of the Hospice had always been to offer inpatient services. Over the years invaluable support has been provided through the GPH services to many patients with cancer, many difficulties have been faced and overcome and much had been learnt by the time the 48 year old patient entered the new Hospice facility. The team is well aware that there are many new challenges to come.



Sanjay is wheeled into the Hospice
Sanjay is wheeled into the Hospice
GPH nurses make the patient comfortable
GPH nurses make the patient comfortable

 

 


Sanjay, a widower and father of two children, was terminally ill with lung cancer and bone metastasis. He was having difficulty breathing as he was gently lowered on to the bed. Soon he seemed relaxed and his young son helped the nurses to care for him with great devotion. Sanjay was not very hungry but enjoyed the fresh soups made for him in the facility’s new kitchen.

On the morning of the 7th June, Sanjay was taken for a short walk in a wheelchair along the wide verandah outside the patients’ rooms. He commented on how beautiful the view was and how peaceful it was. Later that morning he passed away quietly in the presence of his son.  The GPH team comforted the boy whose silent tears flowed with a dignity and understanding beyond his years. He was helped to give his father Ganga water and tulsi leaves before the body was taken to his home in the GPH ambulance.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, May 28th, 2017  
May Clinic

Exactly fifty-one percent of the ninety-nine patients, attending the Ganga Prem Hospice May 28, 2017 charitable cancer clinic, were cancer patients.



  The two senior oncologists had a busy time as every second patient had a malignancy. Of those fifty-one malignancies, nine cases were of buccal mucosa oral cancer. In all, oral cancers constituted forty percent of all cancer incidents seen.
GPH nurse distributes medicines
GPH nurse distributes medicines
 

 

 


Not just the doctors, but the counsellors also worked tirelessly that day, speaking not only to patients but also comforting bereaved family members including  two women who had been recently widowed and came to the clinic for help. One elderly woman who had just lost her husband, and had also been rendered homeless, was taken to Dehradun after a one night stay at the GPH inpatient facility. Ganga Prem Hospice supporters at the Sai Soham Samiti will try to give her a place to stay. As the woman had very poor eye-sight, a Ganga Prem Hospice personnel held her hand as she walked out of the clinic and to the GPH Rishikesh base, the Punjab Sindh Kshetra, for lunch. The Hospice’s medical director carried her bag for her.


Counselling a newly bereaved widow
Counselling a newly bereaved widow
Palliative care specialist, Dr Chitra, with a patient
Palliative care specialist, Dr Chitra, with a patient

 

 


Seven doctors of five different specialties, including two oncologists, two palliative care experts, a dental surgeon, a homeopath practitioner and an ayurvedacharya were present at the clinic. Volunteers helped immensely, not only with calling in of the patients, and with scanning of their prescriptions but also with raising in-kind donations for the Hospice. While five volunteers assisted directly with the patient-related work, there were others who networked on behalf of the hospice. The hospice kitchen and food supplies are being sponsored and donated generously by local supporters. This clinic saw palliative care doctor Aditi Chaturvedi carry 20 KGs of wheat flour and a weighing scale to Rishikesh that had been donated by a friend of the Hospice.

Even though there were nearly a hundred patients to be seen, the pace remained consistent, and by one o’ clock in the afternoon, nearly all the patients had been seen. The May 2017 clinic of Ganga Prem Hospice was also the last clinic to be held before the office moves over to the Hospice facility in Raiwala area of Rishikesh. The clinic venue will however stay at the Sardarni Nanki Devi Punjab Sindh Kshetra Charitable Hospital, as it has remained for the last ten years of its operations.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, April 30th, 2017  
April Clinic

On April 30, 2017 two oncologists, a palliative care specialist, two senior gynaecologists, a dental surgeon and an Ayurvedacharya gave consultations to patients at the Rishikesh cancer clinic.



The dental surgeon gives consultation
The dental surgeon gives consultation
palliative care doctor notes down symptoms
palliative care doctor notes down symptoms

 

 


Ninety-two patients attended the clinic in spite of the gusting winds and unusually inclement weather. There were fifty-one cancer patients at the clinic, including nine terminally ill patients, eight of whom were current home care patients. One individual was sent for additional tests to confirm a suspected cancer diagnosis.

Breast cancer was once again the most common malignancy; there were eight confirmed cases at the clinic. Head and neck cancers were also a prevalent category with fourteen cases of ten different types of head and neck cancers. Oral cancers were also common, including nine cases of cancers of the alveolus, buccal mucosa, and tongue.

Delhi-based oncologists Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma focused primarily on the medical concerns of cancer patients,while post-consultation counseling was conducted by Dr Aditi Chaturvedi. There were a few cases which required in-depth counseling, such as an elderly couple who had come from Kankhal in Haridwar.The sixty-five year old husband was suffering from advanced stage oropharynx cancer with a tumour-related wound on his neck. As their landlord was about to evict the couple from their home because of the patient's wound and prognosis, the Hospice team spent time talking with them and exploring possible housing options. This case is a example of some of the unique challenges of hospice care in India, and highlights the need for more residential care facilities.



Local supporters speak with poor patients
Local supporters speak with poor patients
A GPH nurse mans the medicine desk
A GPH nurse mans the medicine desk

 

 


Volunteers offered significant assistance at the clinic as always –by scanning prescriptions, summoning patients and so forth. The neighbouring Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar restaurant supplied tea and refreshments generously.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, March 26th, 2017 
March Clinic

In its tenth year of operation, the Ganga Prem Hospice monthly cancer clinic in Rishikesh continues to offer exceptional medical care free of charge to the people of Uttarkhand.  Since September 2007 over 9500 patients have received free consultations, medicines and more.

The March 26, 2017 clinic was attended by 106 patients who were given oncological, gynaecological and palliative care consultations, medicines, massages and nursing care. Of the 106 patients, fifty-seven were malignancy cases. Amongst these, there were eight terminally ill individuals who required immediate attention. A soft palate cancer patient from Rishikesh was exceedingly weak from starvation and dehydration. Surgical oncologist Dr AK Dewan recommended an immediate entereal feed for him. A gravity feeding bag was procured and the patient was fed by this means for the next three hours.



TICP receives entereal feed at the clinic
TICP receives entereal feed at the clinic
Dr Aditi speaks with a patient
Dr Aditi speaks with a patient

 

 


A female lung cancer patient was brought to the clinic from Dehradun by her son. She clearly required regular palliative care and was added to the home care roster by the Ganga Prem Hospice team. Another terminally ill home care patient's wife was counselled by Dr Aditi Chaturvedi. Dr. Aditi gently explained to the wife that her husband was now grievously ill and that his prognosis was not optimistic. The patient's wife was naturally saddened by this news, but comforted by the sincere care and consideration of the counsellor.


GPH team give supplements to a patient
GPH team give supplements to a patient
GPH Manager and volunteer at Registration
GPH Manager and volunteer at Registration

 

 


While oncologists Dr AK Dewan and Dr SK Sharma examined the fifty-seven cancer patients, gynaecologists Dr Rupali Dewan and Dr Rajesh Saxena saw female patients. An Ayurvedacharya assisted the doctors, while a volunteer homeopathy practitioner assisted the counsellor in making assessments, taking down patients' details, and in explaining their medication to them. A masseuse gave the sick patients hand and foot massages. One patient shyly asked her not to take the trouble, to which she cheerfully replied that that was her job. Herbal supplements donated by Organic India were also distributed to patients according to their needs.

There were a staggering eleven cases of breast cancer alone among the malignancies, followed by six cases of pyriform fossa, and four cases of lung cancer.

Experienced volunteers supported the clinic as always - calling patients into the consultation rooms, assisting at the registration desk and scanning prescriptions. The Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar supplied fruits for distribution to the patients and served tea at the clinic, as well as providing snacks for the hospice team.


 


INDIA, Dehradun, March 19th, 2017  
GPH and Elderly Volunteers

Dr Aditi Chaturvedi and volunteer Saurabha Todariya addressed a group of eighty elderly people in Dehradun in a talk entitled 'Palliative Care and Elderly Volunteers'. After the talk many members of the audience were eager to help in GPH work.



 


INDIA, Dehradun, March 8th, 2017 
Cancer Awareness on International Women’s Day

On the 8th of March Ganga Prem Hospice, Jascap Foundation and Doon Government Hospital (Dehradun) hosted a breast and cervical cancer awareness talk in honor of Women’s Day.

Around forty people – hospital patients and their relatives – attended the educational presentation which focused on cancer prevention and introduced the topic of palliative care.

In India, as many as 70% of cancer deaths occur because of late diagnosis. Dr. Navneet Jain, surgical oncologist of Doon Hospital, encouraged women to speak up immediately if they notice any female health abnormalities so that potential cancers can receive timely treatment.



Dr Aditi answering questions at the event
Dr Aditi answering questions at the event
Doctors participate in the presentation
Doctors participate in the presentation

 

 


GPH doctors, Dr. Chitra Rajendran and Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi answered women’s health questions and explained the meaning of palliative and hospice care in the context of their work with Ganga Prem Hospice.

After the talk, the doctors met together to discuss ways to expand palliative care in the region. The GPH team conveyed their willingness to provide hospice home care services to patients referred by Doon Hospital, while also encouraging the government doctors to begin palliative care in the hospital itself. GPH would like to thank Mr. Ravi Kant from Jascap foundation for organizing this event for Women’s Day.




 
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