Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70--73

Preventive palliation in the elderly - Organizing health camps for the rural aged


Kosish-The Hospice, Bokaro Steel City, Jharkhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Abhijit Dam
Kosish-The Hospice, Bokaro Steel City, Jharkhand
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.68407

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Most of the needs of elders for support and assistance in the later stages of life are fulfilled by informal helpers. The position of a large number of older persons has become vulnerable due to which it cannot be taken for granted that their children will be able to look after them when they need care in old age, specially in view of the longer life span implying an extended period of dependency and higher costs to meet health and other needs. The condition of the rural elderly is even more pitiable, contrary to our beliefs, as availability, affordability and accessibility to medicare facilities are poor. We undertook the task of organizing a health camp in a rural set-up with the idea of implementing our concept of "preventive palliation" in which excellent palliative care was coupled with a pinch of prevention, like routine checks of blood pressure, routine physical check-ups, etc, so that any aberration can be detected early and necessary rectification measures can be implemented. These periods of routine check-ups can also be used to assess the psycho-social, cultural and emotional problems, if any. Such an approach, say every monthly, gives the elderly something to look forward to and ensures a high degree of customer satisfaction and greatly reduces the burden on the current health system. The challenges faced and the data obtained from this study were shocking. The elderly living in rural areas of the tribal state of Jharkhand suffer from poor physical and mental health, a factor which was rather unexpected in the Indian cultural system in the rural setting. Simple strategies like implementing routine health check ups with provision of "nutritious meal program" can go a long way in mitigating these problems in a cost-effective and simple manner. To make the government-based programs accessible and available to the end-users, participation of local bodies like NGOs is mandatory. Preventive palliation, a concept introduced by Kosish, is the way forward for providing palliative care to the rural-based elderly in most parts of India. This concept takes into account the local cultural, social, financial and long term feasibility and sustainability aspects of the care process.






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