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INDIA, Rishikesh, October 23rd, 2016
October Clinic

On Sunday October 23rd, 56 patients, including seven terminally ill cancer patients, attended the Ganga Prem Hospice monthly clinic in Rishikesh.

The clinic was held one week early, since the last Sunday of the month this year corresponds with the widely celebrated Divali festival. Due to the holiday and change of date, patient attendance was lighter than usual and the waiting time to see the doctor was consequently almost negligible. Dr. Sharma, a senior Radiation Oncologist from Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, traveled from Delhi to lead the medical team. He was supported by GPH palliative care doctor, Aditi Chaturvedi, and Ayurvedacharya Dr. J.P. Rathi, as well as the GPH full time nurses, staff and volunteers. A male nurse volunteer from the USA recorded the patients’ vital signs before they went to see the oncologist.



Dr Sharma studies a later-comer’s reports
Dr Sharma studies a later-comer’s reports
the nurse checks a patient/s vital signs
the nurse checks a patient/s vital signs

 

 

54% of the attending patients were suffering from cancer at various stages. Breast cancer was the most common malignancy, followed by buccal mucosa. In total, there were eleven cases of head and neck cancer, and six patients with oral cancer. GPH added four new patients from the clinic to the regular home care roster. The remaining patients received advice and medication for other maladies such as viral fever, high blood pressure and the common cold.


  Among the three home care patients who attended the clinic was an elderly sannyasi lady who has been with GPH since the early years of the home care service. Her cancerous breast wound had once healed up but is now open again requiring daily dressings from the GPH nurse. She attended the clinic to show the oncologist the numerous blisters which are appearing over her breast and upper chest.
GPH nursing assistant Jamuna with the sannyasini
GPH nursing assistant Jamuna with the sannyasini
 

Dr Aditi with the fruit seller
Dr Aditi with the fruit seller

In addition to medical support, GPH often offers various types of financial support to needy patients and their families. A very poor fruit seller from Rishikesh came to the clinic with abdominal cancerand was seen by both the oncologist and the palliative care doctor. GPH will sponsor the beginning of his radiotherapy and will help him to apply to Hans Foundation to finance his ongoing cancer treatment 

 

 


India, Rishikesh, 11th October 2016
Krishna Das Sings to a Full House in Rishikesh

Over five hundred and fifty people gathered on the Dushhera festival afternoon of October 11th in Rishikesh for the tenth annual Ganga Prem Hospice charity concert.

Kirtan king Krishna Das played for nearly three hours, enchanting the audience with his beloved devotional chants. Although many of the songs were familiar from years past, the power of his music is such that the joy of hearing it only increases with time. KD requests, and in fact relies on, the audience to join him in the repetition of the divine names thereby creating a beautiful atmosphere of collective devotional practice.



A full hall sings along with Krishna Das
A full hall sings along with Krishna Das
Devotees enthralled by Krishna Das
Devotees enthralled by Krishna Das

 

 

Before the musicians took the stage, the short video was shown as an introduction to the activities of Ganga Prem Hospice. Although it was a warm day for October, the large international audience was enthusiastic at this opportunity to see the legendary performer in holy Rishikesh and support the cause of local hospice care.

The concert began with the slower, meditative“Shri Ram Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram” chant, and increased in intensity and tempo as the afternoon progressed, prompting the audience to sing along and dance. KD performed his old favorites and traditional chants like “Hanuman Chalisa” as well as his rousing version of the American gospel classic, “Jesus on the Mainline.”


A patient singing in the kirtan
A patient singing in the kirtan
Krishna Das talks with Reshu
Krishna Das talks with Reshu

 

 


The Hospice patients were invited and many of them who were able came to listen and join in the singing. Two patients from Haridwar, a child and an elderly patient, were picked up and dropped back at home by a GPH vehicle. A thirteen year old patient, Reshu, who came with her mother and uncle, was introduced to KD at the end of the concert, who very lovingly spoke to her and made the child feel special.


Arjun on the tabla
Arjun on the tabla
Krishna Das has his hand autographed by a little fan
Krishna Das has his hand autographed by a little fan

 

 


KD was accompanied by tabla master Arjun Bruggeman, who himself has performed in Rishikesh almost as many times as the chant master himself. In this,his tenth annual concert for Ganga Prem, KD was as gracious as ever, spending a lot of time with his fans and admirers both before and after the performance. He was freely available to those who wanted to meet to him or have a photograph taken with him. He smiled, laughed and answered all their questions.

Outside of the concert hall numerous vendors and GPH volunteers sold gifts and edibles to the concert attendees throughout the afternoon, thereby raising additional funds and increasing awareness of GPH activities. As before Organic India generously provided cups of free tulsi tea at the venue. People were moved to contribute as they could in donation boxes, and several people expressed interest in volunteering in the future.


Stalls manned by volunteers
Stalls manned by volunteers
volunteers on the ticket desk
volunteers on the ticket desk

 

 


As always, the entire show was managed entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers from Ganga Prem Hospice. Alan Neachell, Menakshi Goenka and Anil Gupta spear-headed the planning, while a whole host of other volunteers assisted with publicity, invitations, managing the stalls, guiding the guests, and even cleaning the venue in preparation for the concert. The Ganga Prem Hospice staff worked equally hard, managing the logistics, and providing behind the scenes support for the concert preparation work which began weeks in advance.

In the end, the concert not only helped introduce Ganga Prem Hospice to several hundred people, but also raised a handsome five hundred thousand rupees for the Hospice work. 



 

INDIA, Dehradun, 8th October, 2016
Palliative Care Week: Community Awareness Walk

On Oct. 8th Ganga Prem Hospice organized a one hour walk through Dehradun city as part of its World Hospice and Palliative Care Week initiatives.

In addition to Ganga Prem Hospice staff and volunteers ( including some patients and bereaved family members), the walk was supported by the Rotary Club, Jolly Grant Cancer Research Institute, Sai Soham Samiti, students of Hopetown School, Doon Cambridge School and Hilton School. The enthusiastic participants chanted slogans such as, “Pain relief is our right,” and carried banners such as, “Palliative care is our responsibility,” and “Treat the patient as a whole, not just the hole in the patient.”



A elderly patient on the march
A elderly patient on the march
GPH nurses taking part
GPH nurses taking part

 

 

GPH utilized the occasion to launch its “5 Rupees for Pain Relief Scheme.” The cost of pain relief medication for a hospice patient is a mere five rupees for four to six hours, or about one rupee per hour. At this rate there is no reason why the terminally ill should be denied the basic human right to pain relief. Seeing these statistics, many people from the streets came forward to donate and several expressed their interest in becoming hospice volunteers. The Rotary Club in particular committed to further promotion of the 5 Rupees Scheme through its membership in Dehradun.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh ,Dehradun, 7th, 8th October, 2016
World Palliative Care Week: Three CMEs

As part of GPH World Palliative Care Week initiatives, Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi spoke at three medical institutions in Rishikesh and Dehradun. 

She spoke to about 100 college faculty and hospital staff at AIIMS on Friday 7th October, including both the Hospital Director and College Dean; to an audience of about 150 faculty and students at Shridev Suman Subarti Medical College; and to 50 or 60 professionals at Jolly Grant Cancer Research Institute on Saturday the 8th October. The lectures focused on the humanitarian responsibility of medical professionals to provide greater access to end of life care.






 

 

Dr. Aditi explained that as the rate of chronic illnesses continues to increase, it has become clear that hospital acute care is only a small part of the services required by the health care community. Only 10-15% of deaths occur suddenly, yet a disproportional amount of medical resources are focused on these 10-15%. For the great majority, dying from chronic illness is a process that can span months or years. Even those who can afford care often do not wish to spend their final days in the impersonal environment of an intensive care unit.

Dr. Aditi emphasized that while curing illness has been the primary duty of modern medicine, we must also recognize that dying does matter. She encouraged her audiences not to shy away from talk about death, as this step can help to bring palliative care awareness into the medical mainstream. A terminal diagnosis need not be a failure, but can be another opportunity to fulfill a doctor’s vocation of care.

She also spoke about the call from WHO to improve long-term care models, and she introduced some resources provided by the Indian Association of Palliative Care which can help medical professionals identity the stages of dying, and guide them on how to help both patients and their families through this process.

Dr. Aditi’s inspiring lectures and outreach work continue to complement the wonderful patient care she provides at GPH!



 

INDIA, Dehradun, October 7th, 2016
GPH Hosts Dehradun Patients’ Picnic

Following the success of a similar event in Rishikesh for World Hospice and Palliative Care Week, GPH invited Dehradun patients and their families for an afternoon of sharing, games and singing.



Games in progress at the party
Games in progress at the party
A Dehradun patient tells his story with GPH
A Dehradun patient tells his story with GPH

 

 

The event was hosted on October 7th at the farmstead of Sai Soham Samiti, a home for children with special needs. The children sang devotional songs for everyone and enchanted the audience with their carefree nature and innocent expressions of love. Two GPH patients, Chaman Lal and Dishesh Gussain, also led songs. After the games the program ended with refreshments for all provided by Sai Soham Samiti. Social celebrations such as this picnic provide a valuable break from the stress and worries of day to day life with terminal illness. Sai Soham Samiti has been supporting the work of GPH for several years by hosting clinics and events such as this as well as providing transport for Dehradun patients to come to cancer clinics in Rishikesh.



 

INDIA, Rishikesh, October 5th, 2016
World Hospice Week Gathering in Rishikesh

On October 5th Rishikesh patients and families joined staff and volunteers at the GPH headquarters for an afternoon of sharing in honor of World Hospice Week.

Every year, during the first week of October, hospice outreach activities are hosted across the globe to honor end of life care professionals and raise awareness of hospice activities worldwide. The primary purpose of the Rishikesh event was to facilitate sharing and to support a feeling of community amongst patients, families and GPH care-givers.

The program began with an introduction by Dr. Aditi in which she explained the purpose of the day’s gathering and provided a summary of GPH’s origins and growth. She then invited the patients and family members in attendance to introduce themselves and share their stories of living with terminal illness. In addition to the physical challenges they were enduring, all the patients also brought up the financial burden of their care and treatment. Everyone expressed in emotional language their gratitude to GPH for its contributions to both patient care and material support.



A poor patient’s husband expresses gratitude to GPH
A poor patient’s husband expresses gratitude to GPH
A patient tells how GPH is helping him
A patient tells how GPH is helping him

 

 

The group then joined in the singing of bhajans, followed by snacks and drinks, and ending with a series of games with prizes for the children. A patient who was resting in an adjacent room was drawn in by the laughter and was helped to a chair so that she could enjoy the fun.


  A similar GPH gathering occurred in Dehradun on October 7th, followed by a hospice awareness walk and lecture on October 8th.  
Playing games at the gathering
Playing games at the gathering
 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh and Haridwar, October 2nd and 3rd, 2016
Ananda Spa Therapists at GPH

Two specialists in therapies for patients with cancer led a team of therapists from Ananda Spa on home care visits with the GPH team on 2nd and 3rd October

Julia Bach, Educator Founder ‘Wellness for Cancer’ from Australia and Sharla Charnley, Spa Consultant & Trainer in Massage and Yoga visited Ganga Prem Hospice on the 2nd and 3rd of October with a group of therapists from  Ananda Spa near Rishikesh. The groups joined GPH home care teams on visits in Rishikesh and Haridwar on two consecutive days seeing 10 patients in Rishikesh and 7 patients in Haridwar. The teams included Tirtha Roy Choudhary, the Director of Human resources at Ananda who coordinated the visits with Menakshi Goenka of Ganga Prem Hospice and Gregory Urgin, the Director of Spa Training at Ananda.



Ananda Spa therapists massage a patient
Ananda Spa therapists massage a patient
a relaxing massage for a patient
a relaxing massage for a patient

 

 

The therapists spent from 40 minutes to an hour in each home—speaking to the patients, taking photographs and notes and providing therapeutic massages and healing energies to the patients inclusive of reiki. The patients were relaxed and many of them went to sleep during the treatments. The patients and their families found themselves being thoroughly pampered, being treated with special hydrating oils and creams from Ananda Spa.

The treatments included full body massage and head and foot massages. Treatments for which visitors at luxury spas would pay thousands of rupees were lovingly given to the Hospice patients absolutely free of charge. In most cases the teams left the homes with the patients sleeping peacefully.


A patient receives a head ad foot massage
A patient receives a head ad foot massage
Spa therapists with Reshu
Spa therapists with Reshu

 

 


Most patients wanted the therapists to come again. One patient who had a lot of knee pain was visibly relieved and came to say goodbye at the door. GPH wonder-kid Reshu wished to communicate with all the therapists on WhatsApp, and took a promise from each that they would come and see her again soon.

We thank Ananda Spa for this much appreciated service and especially Mr Roy- Choudary for coordinating these two days so beautifully. We look forward to Ananda Spa’s continued support and hope that the therapists will return to visit our patients and train us in these various techniques which were so beneficial and soothing.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, September 25th, 2016
September Clinic 2016

Eighty-two patients were attended to by six doctors and three nurses at the Ganga Prem Hospice September 25th cancer clinic.

Although the patient count was moderate, the clinic was a busy one as patients with cancer (65%) far outnumbered the non-cancer cases. There were sixteen cases of oral cancer alone. Ten terminally ill patients and three suspected malignancy cases were also among the patients seen.



Drs AK and Rupali Dewan with a patient
Drs AK and Rupali Dewan with a patient
Gynaecologist, Dr Saxena giving consultation
Gynaecologist, Dr Saxena giving consultation

 

 

Senior surgical oncologist Dr AK Dewan and gynaecologist Dr Rupali Dewan attended to a majority of the patients, supported by a local gynaecologist, an Ayurvedacharya, and a dental surgeon from the Seema Dental College & Hospital, Rishikesh. Palliative care doctor, Aditi Chaturvedi took up the mantle of counselling the patients after their oncological consultation


The dentist advises a patient
The dentist advises a patient
Dr Aditi with a terminally ill patient
Dr Aditi with a terminally ill patient

 

 


The widow of a deceased GPH patient brought a sixty-five year old gentleman with oral cancer to the Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinic for the first time. He could not afford treatment so Dr Aditi explained how to apply for financial help. The kind widow explained that she wanted to be a part of the Hospice service and help other patients with cancer and so she keeps a look-out for people suffering from the disease and brings them along to the clinic. This gentleman was the third patient she has brought since her husband passed away a few months ago.

There were others at the clinic who were long-time patients of the Hospice and had come for repeat consultations. These included some elderly patients who were in advanced stages of cancer, four home care patients, as well as a four-year old girl undergoing treatment for leukemia. As Dr Dewan consulted with the father, he lovingly put his hand on the child's shoulders. Even though she listened intently to what as being discussed, it was far beyond the little girl's understanding.


Dr Dewan inspects a child patient’s tongue
Dr Dewan inspects a child patient’s tongue
Volunteers help a patient into a wheelchair
Volunteers help a patient into a wheelchair

 

 


Volunteers played a huge part in running the clinic as always - attending to wheel-chair bound patients, calling patients in to the consultation room, scanning the prescriptions, dispensing medicines, and serving tea and fruit juice. The Rajasthani Mishthan Bhandar continued to open-heartedly provide refreshments for the patients and the Hospice team.



 
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