From the President’s Desk

Dear Friends,

It is a matter of pride for me to speak about our efforts to help and guide the Palliative Care Community in India, in the middle of the unending healthcare emergency. Despite all our limitations, we are trying to do whatever we can.

In this Newsletter, please see details of the current issue of Indian Journal of Palliative Care. This exclusive edition on COVID‑19, will definitely help and guide the palliative care community through multiple research articles and case reports on COVID‑19 from India in the last 3 to 4 months. Considering the nature of this unique disease – COVID-19 – and the pattern of patients presenting in India and across the globe, we realized that there is a need for the IAPC to have a voice in the form of a guidance document. It resulted in the “IAPC position statement” in this special edition, which will try to help and guide physicians to treat their patients in a holistic manner. The position statement for various stages of disease and in various age groups will also help physicians to treat patients following the governing principles of medical ethics.

Another remarkable achievement is in the field of training. IAPC successfully launched the ‘IAPC ACADEMY’ an online training series, with an aim to provide training to the young generation of palliative care physicians, especially MD Palliative Medicine students. We have expert faculty in the field of Palliative Medicine, pioneers in the field with vast experience and valuable knowledge, which should be shared with the youngsters. As the National Association, it is the duty of IAPC, to coordinate and provide this unique training opportunity. We feel certainly proud that we could launch this online training series, with an inaugural session by Dr. M R Rajagopal the eminent faculty and pioneer in Palliative Care in India, who is known as Father of Palliative Care. Please find details of this series given in this newsletter and I request the support of all faculty and students for the successful conduct of the program. I request again and again, all MD Palliative Medicine Students and other young doctors in India who practice Palliative Medicine to participate in these sessions, which will happen on all Mondays from 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM, to enrich your knowledge.

Online classes are part of the new normal, and we are also offering the IAPC Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care online. Details are provided in this Newsletter.

COVID-19 is in its peak, it has reached our inner circle. Many of our friends, colleagues and family members are affected.Lot of new drugs are in the market, still the major issues like isolation, loneliness and stigma can’t be treated by new drugs. Integration of the concept of Palliative care that is holistic care in continuum of care can be of great help in managing these patients. We need to keep a balance of expensive medications and cure without forgetting care.

Another aspect which no one is giving any attention to is stress amongst healthcare workers. COVID will go away after sometime, but if the psychological issues and its impact on healthcare workers are not being addressed, the scars will remain for long.

Yesterday one of my junior colleagues told me that he couldn’t bear seeing so many patients die like this!

I am concerned about my colleagues who are going through such a desperate situation!
I get extremely worried when my resident doctor’s lab test reports confirm that they are COVID positive.
I am concerned about the shortage of healthcare workers too.
I get completely nervous when I realise that treatment of cancer patients is getting delayed!

What is the solution? Although we find it difficult to get an answer, we palliative care community together can work to manage this situation.

Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar
President
IAPC


IAPC Launches Online Training Program

IAPC ACADEMY FUNCTIONING FROM 29TH JUNE 2020

It is a proud beginning; the ‘IAPC ACADEMY’, an online training series mainly for MD students in Palliative Medicine and doctors practicing Palliative Medicine. This initiative by Indian Association of Palliative Care, has been started functioning from 29th June 2020, with the opening session by the eminent faculty and pioneer in Palliative Care in India, Dr. M R Rajagopal. More than 200 medical professionals from all over India participated in the inaugural session; an early morning program, held on 29th July 2020, from 6:30AM to 7:30 AM. ‘Approach to an adult patient with intractable cancer pain’ was the topic of the Lecture.

Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar, President, IAPC, welcomed participants in the inaugural session. “It is a historical day for IAPC. IAPC Academy provides  MD students a unique opportunity to interact with Palliative Care Physicians from all over the country. They will be able to know what is happening in other parts of the country. Otherwise, their training is limited to their own institutions”, said Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar in her welcome speech. Dr. Anuja Damani, Asst Professor, Department of Palliative Medicine, TATA Memorial Centre, was the moderator of the session. 

IAPC ACADEMY is an initiative by Indian Association of Palliative Care with an aim to provide expert training to MD students in Palliative Medicine in India, by eminent faculty in the field of Palliative Medicine. Currently three prestigious medical institutions in India, AIIMS New Delhi, TATA Memorial Centre, Mumbai and GCRI Ahmedabad, offers MD in Palliative Medicine.  This program includes a series of Online Lectures  on various aspects of Palliative Medicine, on every Monday, from 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM. 

Schedule of the program is available Here

This online program is also open for all doctors who are practicing Palliative Medicine in India. 

How to register for the program? 

Only registered delegates can participate in this program. For registration, please send your name and email id to academyiapc@gmail.com

The invitation link to the session will be sent to you. Registration for next session, that will be held on Monday, 6th July, will be closed by 5 PM on Sunday, 5th July.

IAPC ACADEMY: Next session on 6th July – 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM

Next session will be held on Monday 6th July form 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM. Please join by 6:15 AM. Lecture will starts at 6:30 AM. It is difficult to admit late comers. So we request all of you to join by 6:30 AM. 

Topic: Approach to prescribing strong opioids for pain management

  • Opioids pharmacotherapy
  • Initiating strong opioids
  • Titrating opioid dose and opioid rotation

Faculty: Dr. Nandini Vallath


Indian Journal of Palliative Care Presents

An Exclusive Issue for COVID-19 and Palliative Care

The July 2020 issue of Indian Journal of Palliative Care has been designed as an exclusive edition with research articles and case reports on COVID -19. This issue is brought out with an aim to help and guide physicians and Palliative Care Community  in India. 

“Considering the nature of this unique disease and pattern of patients presenting in India and across the globe, we realized that there is a need for the IAPC to have a voice in the form of a guidance document. It resulted in the “IAPC position statement” in this special edition, which will try to help and guide physicians to treat their patients in a holistic manner. The position statement for various stages of disease and in various age groups will also help physicians to treat patients following the governing principles of medical ethics. I am confident that this exclusive issue of IAPC on COVID‑19 will definitely help and guide the palliative care community through multiple research articles and case reports on COVID‑19 from India in the last 3 to 4 months.”- writes Dr. Sushma Bhatnagr, Chief Editor of IJPC in Editorial Comment. 

IJPC is available online; please follow this link to get the current issue: http://www.jpalliativecare.com/currentissue.asp?sabs=n


Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care (CCEPC) Goes Online

A batch of Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care will be held on 24th, 25th, and 26th July 2020, online. Registration is open. 

Eligibility & Course Fee: Doctors with MBBS and BDS, Fee: Rs. 2200/-
Nurses with GNM and BSc Nursing, Fee: Rs. 1200/-

For details please visit this Link


CCEPC in the Shadow of Another  ‘C’

Since its launch in 2007, this is for the first time,  majority of the course cnetres in India couldn’t organize the June batch of   Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care. The conduct of CCEPC was also challenged by COVID-19 Pandemic.  Normally an average of 350 students register for the June batch every year through the 40 course centres in India. But only two centres were able to conduct the course in June 2020, with tremendous effort. They are HBCHRC Visakhapatnam and Lakshmi Pain and Palliative Care Trust, Chennai. Congratulations to Dr. Vidya Vishwanath and Dr. Mallika Tiruvadanan, course  coordinators of these centers for this extra ordinary effort you have taken!

Here you can read a note by Dr. Vidya  Vishwanath, Course Coordinator, HBCHRC Visakhapatnam on organizing this program amid of restrictions and risk posed by COVID pandemic:

The Masked Batch

Dr. Vidya Viswanath

The CCEPC this year had the shadow of another ‘C’ and we were apprehensive about conducting the course in June 2020. But seeing the steady flow of students expressing their interest, we decided to cap the registrations at twenty one and went ahead with the COVID protocols in place. We conducted it over 3 working days along with local faculty and sessions over zoom; given the limitations of travel and continuing the regular OPD. 

Screening, wearing masks and physical distancing in the hall were maintained throughout the course (an exception was the moment when the group posed for a ‘masked’ photograph!) 

Along with the relief that the course went ahead smoothly was the joy in reading the feedback notes from the participants and the smile which even the mask could not hide!

Feedback by a student.

“A good night’s sleep for the patients without pain; Isn’t that we aspire for!”

“It’s a sad fact that even after amendments of NDPS rules, opioid analgesics are not reaching to those who need them the most. And this, is now exacerbated by the pandemic situation and lockdown enforced due to it.” – writes Dr. Anuja Damani and Dr. Arunanghu Goshal in an article on their effort to provide OPIOIDS safely to a patient who resides in a village, a 2000 kms away from the hospital in Mumbai. Finally the medicines reached his place. 

“After some efforts the government machinery worked and in few weeks the patient did receive his much awaited analgesia. At the time of writing this report, we got to know through telemedicine that he is at peace with his pain with a good night’s sleep. Isn’t that what we aspire for!” asks the young doctors!

Read the article Here.


IAHPC Offers free membership for students

With the hope of encouraging a lifetime interest in palliative care, the IAHPC is offering a 1-year free membership to undergraduate college/university students of any discipline and Palliative Care Post Graduate students .  Undergraduate students can renew their membership annually at no cost as long as their undergraduate status is maintained. 

To know details, please follow this link: https://hospicecare.com/submit/join-iahpc/student/


Worth Reading

  1. Grief, lockdown and coronavirus: a looming mental health crisis
    The pandemic has upended traditional rituals around death and forced mourning to take place under isolation; read the article here:
    https://m.facebook.com/281470843253/posts/10158645849453254/?notif_id=1590869669491071&notif_t=notify_me_page&ref=notif?sfnsn=wiwspwa&extid=eGcJQkviZFjekOgs
  1. COVID-19: The virus is only six degrees of separation away from us all
    For some healthcare workers covid-19 has crossed the boundary from their professional into their personal lives, affecting how they feel about their work, explains Sukhpreet Singh Dubb. To read article please follow this link: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/06/08/covid-19-the-virus-is-only-six-degrees-of-separation-away-from-us-all/
  1. Managing Patients in the  COVID-19 Era:
    Please see the guidelines here: https://www.esmo.org/meetings/esmo-webinar-series/managing-patients-in-the-covid-19-era?hit=ehp
  1. Resources relevant to Palliative Care and COVID-19
    To get the resources, please follow this link: http://globalpalliativecare.org/covid-19/
  1. Advisory on rapid antigen test for COVID-19 by ICMR
    To down load the document, please follow this link: https://www.palliativecare.in/covid-19-guidelines/11/

For donations to IAPC and for further information write to nioiapc@gmail.com .

Leave a comment