Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 81-82

A complete palliative care service in Bangalore

Managing Trustee, Karunashraya - Bangalore Hospice Trust, Banaglore, India

Correspondence Address:
Kishore S Rao
Karunashraya Bangalore Hospice Trust, Airport-Varthur Main Road, Marathahalli, Bangalore - 560037
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.30251

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How to cite this article:
Rao KS. A complete palliative care service in Bangalore. Indian J Palliat Care 2006;12:81-2

How to cite this URL:
Rao KS. A complete palliative care service in Bangalore. Indian J Palliat Care [serial online] 2006 [cited 2020 Aug 6];12:81-2. Available from:

The Bangalore Hospice Trust was set up in 1994 when palliative care was still a relatively new concept in India. In its tenth year of operation it was awarded the Karnataka (State) Rajyotsava Award for excellence in palliative care among advanced cancer patients.

From 1995 to 1999 care was being rendered through a home care service which has been going to the homes of patients to render care in the patient's own familiar surroundings and in the presence of the family. Two teams of nurses and counsellors render this service working under the guidance of either the patient's own doctor or the Hospice doctors. They cover the whole city of Bangalore with a population nearing seven million people. This service continues till now and at any given time they care for between fifty and sixty patients.

Because of the progress of the disease a stage comes when caring for the patient at home is difficult and continuous care becomes necessary. For this reason KARUNASHRAYA, the fifty-bed in-patient facility, was set up in 1999 to look after advanced stage cancer patients on a round-the-clock basis. Our belief is that since there are several medical means now available to relieve distressing symptoms like pain etc. there is no need for the patients to continue to suffer at home until they die. Our doctors, nurses, counsellors, health assistants and all staff concentrate on relieving distressing symptoms and encourage patients to be at peace and to die with dignity.

When the distressing symptoms are better the patients are given the option to return to their homes and they are encouraged to be discharged - always with the offer of the home care teams continuing to look after them.

Thus the care offered to advanced cancer patients is complete and all-round. It starts with (a) home care, from the time they leave hospital after curative treatment is completed, (b) followed by in-patient care at the Hospice, (c) again at home under our home care teams, if necessary, after discharge and, finally, (d) back in the hospice until death with a peaceful and dignified end. Among the several models of palliative care being offered in India the Bangalore Hospice Trust offers the most comprehensive, complete and all-round care.

All the care offered by us is absolutely secular and completely free of charge irrespective of caste, creed, sex or economic status. Over 80% of our patients are very poor or middle class. We get patients from all over Karnataka and also all the surrounding States like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc. We have had patients from far off places like Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra etc. We have also looked after a patient each from Srilanka, USA and Kazhakistan.

Our unit of care being the patient and the family, counselling becomes one of the most important parts of our service. Approaching the end of life is a very traumatic time and the families are equally affected. There is need to attend to their psychological problems by our counsellors so that the families are able to give courage to the patients as the end nears.

The principle we follow is that every human being, whatever his background, has the right to approach the end of his life in peace and with dignity. All the work we do is aimed at this basic birthright.

The total number of patients we have looked after till the end of July 2006 is over 6,000. Out of these about 4,100 have died - in peace and with dignity.

Realising that our not-for-profit trust cannot possibly reach every patient who needs our care we have started educating general practitioners, nurses, social workers, counsellors etc. about the care we offer. This is done with the intention that palliative care should reach as many suffering patients as possible. This is done in our Rotary Indiranagar BHT Centre for Palliative Care Education.

Another innovative activity started by us fulfills a crying need of families to look after ailing and often bedridden patients in their own homes. Young girls who have reached their tenth standard level, between the ages of 18 and 23 and essentially from poor families, are recruited and given six months of classroom and practical, hands-on training in patient care. During the training we give free board and lodging and also a stipend of Rs. 500 per month. At the end of the training they are either absorbed into our service or are placed with families in the community to look after the sick and the ailing. This programme is one more evidence of our desire to fulfill the larger social need - certainly, firstly for advanced cancer patients and for their families and secondly for girls from poor backgrounds to get one more source of earning for their impoverished families.

Last, but not the least, is our initiative in spreading knowledge and the practice of palliative care. We have undertaken to use the free franchising method of training and energising other hospice services in and around Bangalore. Anyone wishing to start a palliative care service is welcome to approach us and we provide training and all other advice to set up such facilities. Their doctors and other staff come to us and stay at Karunashraya to get training and hands on experience in looking after terminal cancer patients. We also provide knowledge of the planning and layout of the building, provision of equipment, staff requirements, drug protocols etc. so that more and more such units can be set up. There are already four such units operating under our guidance. These are at Shimoga, Puttur, Kallianpur and Chennai. A new one in Nagpur has just obtained land and we have agreed to train their staff. We are also in advanced stages of talking about providing such knowledge to units in Hyderabad and Vellore. Needless to say, this service is also provided free of any charges or any other obligations.

Therefore the title of this article - Karunshraya, a truly well rounded, complete palliative care service.

This article has been cited by
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Palliative Medicine. 2012; 26(3): 250-256


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