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INDIA, Rishikesh, February 25th, 2018
February Clinic
The February cancer clinic began with rain and thundershowers in Rishikesh, providing a cool and windy flavour to the day. Ninety-nine patients attended the clinic and 60% of them were suffering from cancer. Cancers of the breast, larynx, and tongue were the most common types of malignancies.


   
Dr Dewan sees a seriously ill patient
Dr Dewan sees a seriously ill patient
Dr Aditi speaks with a patient needing home care
Dr Aditi speaks with a patient needing home care
     

 

 

The counsellors at the clinic had a particularly busy day as almost all the patients were under-privileged, had not received any treatment, were in need of care at home and/or required assistance with hospital treatment. A seventy-eight year old patient with neck cancer had not started treatment for his disease for want of money, while another fifty-eight year old man with cancer, who had no family to take care of him, required further tests at the hospital. Ganga Prem Hospice will be assisting both patients with funds and guidance for their hospital visits. Another man, who was weak and emaciated due to advanced stage cancer of the oesophagus, was brought to the clinic by his family. His mother and wife were extremely distraught. The family needed support to accept that their loved one perhaps had a limited amount of time left. Members of the Ganga Prem Hospice team spoke to the family at length and later in the day the patient was admitted to the hospice inpatient facility.


   
A patient is wheeled into the clinic
A patient is wheeled into the clinic
Sister Surabhi with a patient
Sister Surabhi with a patient
     

 

 

There were nine doctors from the Ganga Prem Hospice team at the clinic. Two oncologists, Dr AK Dewan and Dr SK Sharma, led the consultations, assisted by two general physicians. An onco-psychiatrist, a psychologist, an Ayurvedacharya, a palliative care doctor, and a gynaecologist also consulted and counseled patients. A visiting dietitian and student nurse also helped at the clinic. As always, poor patients received free medicine. A few patients were seen by the oncologists even after regular hours and outside of the clinic facility, as the patients had traveled from far away and were delayed on the journey.


     

Volunteers made an immense contribution to the clinic operations as did donors. The February 2018 clinic was sponsored by Shri Sukhdev Singh of the UK, the father of a long-time supporter of Ganga Prem Hospice, Rajinder Singh Jeer. A neighboring restaurant, the Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar, continued with its regular donation of free refreshments and hot tea, which are always greatly appreciated.

Registration at the clinic
Registration at the clinic
 
     
 

INDIA, Delhi, February 24th, 2018
GPH & Pallium India Promoting Palliative Care
On 24th February 2018, Ganga Prem Hospice signed an agreement with Pallium India to start a palliative care advocacy project. Pallium India is a palliative care organisation that has for long promoted access to palliative care and pain relief in the country.


     
 

The purpose of the two-year project is to facilitate and enhance availability of palliative care and adequate pain relief in the state of Uttarakhand. Apart from Uttarakhand, Pallium India has promoted similar projects in the states of Andhra Pradesh (south India) and Mizoram (north-east India) in the year 2017.

 
     

 

 

Pallium India spearheads and supports initiatives such as establishment of palliative care centres, and ‘pain-free hospitals’ across India.

Ganga Prem Hospice will be executing the project by working with government and non-government bodies in the Himalayan state, advocating for establishment of palliative care centres, raising awareness about the importance of end-of-life care, and reaching out to health care professionals, medical colleges and other stakeholders to drive home the importance of providing optimum pain relief and making opioid availability less difficult for patients.

In the previous years, Ganga Prem Hospice has been involved in promoting the case of providing pain relief to patients, with the state government of Uttarakhand, as well as motivating doctors and nurses in the area to learn the basics of palliative care and is therefore very grateful for the opportunity to be able to further extend its initiative to every district in Uttarakhand.

 



 

INDIA, Delhi, February, 2018
GPH at the Annual IAPC Conference
Ganga Prem Hospice was once again represented at the annual Indian Association of Palliative Care Conference which this year was held at the AIIMS Hospital in Delhi 23-25 February 2018.

GPH volunteer doctors Mayank Gupta & Brenda Ward spoke about the new Ganga Prem Hospice inpatient unit opened in June 2017 and described how the hospice has been used to date including the type of patients admitted , reason for admission and outcome of the admission sharing some particularly inspiring patient stories.

Visiting palliative care specialist Dr Laurie Anderson & Dr Brenda also presented the activities relating to advocacy which the GPH team had carried out over the last four years. The amount of training and raising of awareness for health care professionals and the general public which had been done was described as well as the work to ensure that the state government is aware of the need to integrate palliative care into its health care provision.

The team enjoyed the conference and returned to Rishikesh inspired to continue their work assisting palliative patients at Ganga Prem Hospice.

 


 

INDIA, Delhi, 21st February, 2018
Presentation of GPH Palliative Care Data
On the 21st of February GPH volunteer doctor, Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi, spoke to a conference audience in New Delhi about recent palliative care initiatives in the state of Uttarakhand.

The presentation was organized by the International Network of Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR) as part of a pre-conference workshop. INCTR, an international non-profit organization headquartered in Brussels, is dedicated to expanding cancer research and treatment specifically in developing countries. There were around fifty participants at the workshop from all over India.

Dr. Aditi shared the work done by Ganga Prem Hospice and other medical colleges and hospitals in Uttarakhand. She presented data from Feb. 2014-18 showing that Ganga Prem Hospice has trained and sensitized more than 1700 health professionals and more than 700 volunteers. The International Associate of Palliative Care (IAPC) training courses hosted by GPH over the last five years have certified more than 150 health professionals in basic level palliative care.

Although Dr. Aditi showed that much has been accomplished, particularly in the cities served by GPH, there is still a great need for further expansion of services. To this end, GPH has applied for funding from INCTR to support an additional mobile van and salaries for a doctor, nurse and driver.

 


 

INDIA, Gohri Maphi, January, 2018
Bringing the Outside In
Art therapists and local children from a Tibetan school helped to create a mural in a young patient’s room at Ganga Prem Hospice.

Reshu is a young patient at Ganga Prem Hospice inpatient facility ,who, due to her illness, is restricted to lying down horizontally, therefore having to spend much of her time in bed.

Having already discussed with Reshu the possibilities of creating a mural in her bedroom, the therapists thought about inviting children from the nearby Tibetan school to get involved. This idea was reinforced by the GPH staff who had already expressed an interest in bringing the local community closer together.

Reshu was enthusiastic about the prospect of her new mural and together with the therapists spent several days thinking about different landscapes and ideas for it.

When the children from the Tibetan school arrived, they were given a tour of the hospice and surrounding area in order to inspire ideas for the mural. As Reshu is not able to leave her room often, the children helped create a mural that brought nature from the outside into her room.


   
The Tibetan School children show their ideas to Reshu
The Tibetan School children show their ideas to Reshu
 Tibetan children paint pictures at the Hospice
 Tibetan children paint pictures at the Hospice
     

 

 

The children from the school met with Reshu and shared their ideas. The work they created was beautiful and they formed a collaboration with Reshu. Reshu then selected her favourite sections from the drawings and designs and discussed with the therapists what she would like for the final mural. They then spent two days painting this on Reshu’s wall with her guidance.


     

While painting, the therapists explored the imaginary world which was created with Reshu and shared stories and dreams together. They created characters for the animals and she was able to find a place in this world for herself and the people who are most important to her, who she loves dearly.

Reshu with the finished mural
Reshu with the finished mural
 
     
 

INDIA, Rishikesh, January 28th, 2017
January Clinic
There was a high turn-out of patients at the Ganga Prem Hospice January 28th, 2017, free cancer clinic in Rishikesh.

Despite it being a cold and chilly winter day, ninety-two patients were seen at the clinic, fifty-four of whom had cancer. Five home care patients also made it to the clinic to consult with the oncologists. Three patients were under twenty years of age.


   
A patient with Nani Ma and Dr Brenda
A patient with Nani Ma and Dr Brenda
Dr Vats gives consultation to a patient
Dr Vats gives consultation to a patient
     

 

 

A sixty year-old under-privileged patient with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and who had tremors in his limbs was counselled and offered home care in Rishikesh. Another patient with cancer of the stomach was also offered visits at home by the Ganga Prem Hospice home care team. A patient who was referred to a cancer hospital for further treatment was promised support in terms of a home visit to assess his hospital visit reports and to offer him any medical advice that he may need. Another patient who was already terminally ill with liver cancer had his prognosis gently explained to him.



   
Dr Dewan and Dr Sharma examine a patient
Dr Dewan and Dr Sharma examine a patient
Children painting at the clinic
Children painting at the clinic
     

 

 

While oncologists Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma travelled from Delhi and Jalandhar respectively, to attend to cancer patients, a gynaecologist, a palliative care doctor, an onco-psychiatrist, a homeopath and an ayurvedacharya also offered their support at the clinic. Children waiting to see the doctor or accompanying their parents to the clinic spent their time with two visiting art therapists, drawing and painting with them. Tea and refreshments were provided for everyone.



 

INDIA, Dehradun, January 27th – 29th, 2018
GPH Training Course for Government Doctors
On the last weekend of January, Ganga Prem Hospice provided palliative care training for government employed health care professionals.


     
 

Following the advocacy work for the introduction of palliative care for all Uttarakhand citizens led by the GPH teams, the state government has now started training health care professionals working in Government institutes across the state of Uttarakhand. The Ganga Prem Hospice team carried out their first such training with a 3 day teaching course from 27th to 29th January 2018 in Dehradun.

 
     

 

 

The Indian Association of Palliative Care 'Certified Course in Essentials of Palliative Care' was mainly taught  by the hospice team including the Delhi based oncologists Dr AK Dewan and Dr SK Sharma, with some support from members of Pallium India and AIIMS hospital, Rishikesh. Twenty health care professionals from across Uttarakhand participated in the training. These included senior doctors and nurses, a dentist and paramedic. In addition, two new staff members from GPH also received this training. The group were encouraged to see themselves as future leaders in the specialty at their own places of work. The GPH team hope at least some will be inspired to take forward the introduction of palliative care into their hospitals and primary care centres and offered GPH support in whichever way might be required.

At present many terminally ill patients living in the mountainous regions of Uttarakhand are suffering and require pain relief and palliative care. They have to travel hundreds of kilometres to obtain appropriate help. Providing this training ensures their health care providers will be able to assist many without the need to travel such distances which will have a significant effect on the quality of life of these patients and their families,



 

INDIA, Gohri Maphi, January 21st, 2018
Remembering Loved Ones
On Sunday 21st January 2018, Ganga Prem Hospice  hosted its second gathering for the bereaved of GPH in an event of remembrance and celebration.


     
The music concert at GPH
The music concert at GPH

This year the celebration of past lives was held in the grounds of Ganga Prem Hospice and was attended by relatives, staff, volunteers and inpatients of the hospice. The event commenced with a calming concert of flute and tabla by musicians from the Ramesh Shivanand School of Music, Rishikesh.

 
     

 

 

Each bereaved person wrote a message for those they were remembering on a paper leaf. They were invited to decorate this using a range of art materials the therapists have supplied to the hospice. These were then placed in a paper lotus flower which was laid on the ‘river’ on the fabric. In this way the participants were able to share their love and perhaps ease their grief through silent personal expression, while in the process creating a beautiful work of collective art.

The event was poignant and it was clear some were very moved; tears were shed at times. Nani Ma, spiritual advisor and hospice trustee was present and offered support in her always gentle manner.

 


 

INDIA, Shyampur Kangri, January 6th, 2018
Sri Ram Ashram Visit for GPH Children
On Saturday 6 January 2018 nine children from Ganga Prem Hospice returned once again to Sri Ram Ashram, Haridwar, to enjoy time with the wonderful children and team from the orphanage.

The Ganga Prem Hospice children included two patients and seven more children whose lives had been disrupted by cancer in some way or another.  For some this was a new visit, others had attended last year and were greeted as old friends. Aged between three and fifteen years, the GPH children were hosted by about fifty children who live at the ashram. Some of the GPH children were accompanied by a family member.  The visit allowed the hospice children and young people to let go of their burdens for a time and enjoy the loving environment of Sri Ram Ashram, facilitated by matron, Rashmi Cole, who made sure all the visitors felt welcome. Rashmi was instrumental in ensuring the GPH children, who were initially a little shy, were hosted by children of similar ages to help them feel at ease.


   
The daughter of a  GPH home care patient
The daughter of a GPH home care patient
Anjali enjoys the slide
Anjali enjoys the slide
     

 

 

GPH vehicles collected the children in the morning and all had arrived at Sri Ram Ashram by 11 am. The day started off being foggy so indoor activities such as board games and colouring were provided.

Fortunately, by the afternoon the fog had disappeared and everyone went outside to enjoy the recreation area at the ashram. With swings, slides, monkey-bars, a merry-go-round and, on the opposite side of the road, basketball courts and plenty of grass there is ample to keep children entertained.


   
Debashish with ashram children
Debashish with ashram children
Reshu watches an ashram baby in her mirror
Reshu watches an ashram baby in her mirror
     

 

 

The two GPH patients 15 year old Reshu who has a brain tumour, and a new patient 14 year old Debashish, recovering from surgery for a brain tumour, although unable to run around like the other children, chatted to a wide variety of the Sri Ram ashram children who seemed to naturally have a desire to keep them company.  Once again, everyone was inspired to see how these youngsters, uncomplaining, coped with their conditions.


     

Ganga Prem Hospice is extremely grateful to Rashmi and her team who took great efforts to provide such a wonderful welcome. All were treated to some tasty food, with snacks, a sumptuous lunch and a favourite afternoon snack, Aloo Teeki, (spicy potatoes). Following group photos, the GPH visitors left at 4pm, heartened by a beautiful day with their Sri Ram family. The ambulance carrying some of the children back to the hospice resounded with their song and laughter.

GPH and Sri Ram Ashram children
GPH and Sri Ram Ashram children
 
     

 
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