An Initiative by IAPC

Supported by Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care & Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration

Topic: Adapting Palliative Care to Manage Present Emergency.

“The inadequacy in our preparations for the probable stage 3 community transmission, poor ratio of doctors and beds to patients, lack of Personal Protective Equipments, prevalence of co- morbidities and issues related to testing for COVID are the limitations now we face in our fight against COVID-19” – said Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar, President, Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC), while speaking in the echo series on COVID 19 organised by IAPC with the support of Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care and Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration.

Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar, who is the head of the Department, Onco- Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi shared her experience in managing those who are in quarantine or critically ill. The first session of this series, held on 2nd April, 2020, was attended by 76 participants.

“Diabetics is the major comorbidity in patients, which makes the disease condition worse. Lack of ICU set-ups and ventilators are other issues of concern. We could find from our experience that many doctors are not well trained in managing ventilators. Non availability of rapid diagnostic kits makes diagnosis difficult and a time taking process. Due to this diagnosis is not possible even among high risk population.”

“Lack of awareness in the society makes the situation more critical. Even those who suggested for quarantine are not keeping social distancing. Our team finds it very difficult in managing patients admitted in AIIMS, as many of them are not ready to be isolated. They go and meet each other, positive patients try to mingle with others. They don’t understand the concept of social distancing” – Dr. Sushma points out.

“The migration of thousands, started immediately after announcing lock down also is posing threat” – she said.

Dr. Gayatri Palat (Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care) in her welcome speech, introduced various articles relevant to the current scenario. “Palliative Care has a significant role in the current scenario. To provide it efficiently, planning is very important, and key areas such as ‘Stuff, Staff, Space & Systems’ to be identified” – said Dr. Gayatri.

Dr. Meghan Doherty, Director, Pediatric Palliative Care Program, Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration in her talk stated that Palliative Care would help to provide relief to many patients affected with COVID-19. According to her, a caring system that treats symptoms would provide relief to suffering. She also shared communication tools that can be used while managing patients with COVID -19.

The session was followed by a slot for Question and Answer. Questions related to topics including Quarantine, symptoms seen in India, measures need to be taken in the current scenario, role of care givers in COVID times, palliative care in infectious diseases were discussed.

The program was facilitated by Dr Spandana Rayala.

Next Session in this ECHO Series will be held on 9th April, 2020 from 6:30 am – 7:30 am.
Topic: Redesigning existing Palliative Care Services in COVID Time.

Those who are interested can join with us and participate in next session. Meeting ID to join will be sent on request.


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