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Improving Palliative Care in Uttarakhand

Earlier this month one of our Indian Clusters ran a course on caring for people with life-limiting illnesses. BINU THOMAS was an attendee, and he wrote this summary.

A three day training program on home-based palliative care, organised by CHGN Uttarakhand Cluster, was held at Himalayan Torchbearers from 16th February to 18th February 2017. Around 30 participants representing Cluster partners attended the three day course.

In the inaugural session, the Cluster leaders spoke briefly about the functioning, funding and beneficiaries of different projects under the Cluster partnership. The initial training session, by Dr Stanley Macaden from the Christian Medical Association of India, was about the importance of dying with dignity and hope. Dr Stanley made the group understand the feelings of the dying person with different thought-provoking questions helping them step into the shoes of a dying person. The need for holistic care in the palliative care setting was clarified with biblical examples.

The second day's sessions by Jenika were practical-oriented using small group discussions on how to meet the physical needs of the dying. The case studies about pain management, management of disturbed and agitated behaviour and role-play on communication skills helped the participants to handle these situations by themselves in the community setting.

On day three, Dr. Stanley helped to break the barrier of a purely secular approach to client care by referring to his experiences of showing the love of Christ to a dying person. The classes on bereavement care touched the need for extending the palliative care services to the grieving family. At the end, the participants developed an action plan to move forward with the lessons learned from the three day training.

In short, the three day training, I believe, has empowered each participant to be a light to those who are dying.

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