Mumbai: Every year, almost ten thousand patients get enrolled for palliative care at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), at Parel. Of these, nearly 30 per cent are senior citizens suffering from cancer. TMH has started an initiative, New Homecare, to provide medical facilities to these cancer patients, who are in the last stage of the disease.
The concept of palliative care unit is still unknown to many patients and their families. Owing to which, patients who are suffering from the chronic illness and especially in the last stage, do not visit the hospital, often reconciling to their fate. Some doctors from TMH now come forward to spread awareness about New Homecare.
A senior doctor explained, the TMH nurses now visit the general physicians across city to gather information on cancer patients who need palliative care. “With this initiative, cancer patients who are in the last stage will receive treatment at their doorsteps,” he added.
TMH has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NGO, Jeet Association for Support to Cancer Patients (JASCAP), to ensure the patients are provided free treatment through this initiative. Dr Jayita Deodhar, Palliative Medicine, TMH, said, “We wish to reach many more cancer patients and help provide medical aid to them. This mobile team consists of nurse, doctor and a social worker, to ensure there is a maximum outreach.”
Dr Deodhar added, “If the economic condition of the patient is not sound, then free of cost treatment is done here, for which, we have joined hands with JASCAP.” Dr Pradnya Talawadekar, who is attached to the palliative care unit of children, pointed out that there is an increasing number of children suffering from cancer of later stage. “Every month we receive 30-40 new cases of children diagnosed with cancer and mostly they are in the age group of 0 to 18 years,” added Dr Talawadekar.