From the President’s Desk
The pandemic has engulfed the world for the second year now; and we are still fighting to survive. In India, the horrendous second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is almost over. Life seems to be returning to ‘NORMAL’ though we are all aware that this ‘NORMALCY’ is superficial with post-COVID issues (both physical and psychological) now becoming more prevalent. The relentless pandemic also shattered the economy, making life more miserable for the vulnerable sections of the society. With the 3rd wave now expected, I strongly believe that taking adequate precautions and planning with the co-operation of the public is the only solution that we have to control the same.
Amidst of all of this chaos, a lot has been happening in the field of Palliative Care. I hope that our efforts to begin DNB in Palliative Medicine will not go in vain as all those institutions eligible to provide DNB in Palliative Medicine have applied for authorization to provide this course at their institutions. The last date to register for the same was on 15th June 2021.
It is very encouraging and motivating for us to see the enthusiastic participation of all those practicing palliative care in India, convene every Monday morning to attend the Lectures series organized by the IAPC Academy. I am happy to report that by 5th July 2021, a total of 51 Lectures would have been delivered by eminent faculty in Palliative Care from India and abroad. A total of 26 lectures were delivered in series 1, and a total of 25 lectures will be delivered in series 2. The 3rd series are scheduled to begin on 26th July 2021, after a short break of two weeks.
The pandemic forced us to conduct and deliver the IAPC’S Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care (CCEPC) virtually; which actually proved to be a blessing in disguise. Candidates from all over India including those from remote villages now had the opportunity to enroll into the course and get trained in palliative care without having to physically travel to distant places. Candidates therefore benefitted from a uniform theory session and a uniform online examination. Please note that the 3rd online batch of CCEPC will begin on 24th July. Do visit https://www.palliativecare.in/academics/ to find out more details about this course.
I am also very excited to share that The Indian Journal of Palliative Care has brought out a special edition exclusively for Renal Palliative Care. Congratulations to the editorial team and the contributors. Please click here to read this special edition.
The importance of palliative care in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic has been rising steadily. Discussions on End of Life Care, Communication, Grief, Bereavement, and importance of palliative care in treating patients with post-COVID symptoms are now taking center stage and gaining significance. We need to be more organized and prepared to meet this huge demand. The need of the hour is to therefore develop uniform courses for various cadres, adopt uniform teaching strategies, and practice uniform guidelines to manage symptoms.
It is unfortunate that our patients are still unable to receive the needed adequate care and treatment due to the unavailability of palliative care services. Several patients continue to die in pain due to the unavailability of simple pain medications. Tremendous multi-pronged efforts are needed which includes making available crucial government initiatives and garnering the support of health care professionals to resolve this issue. It is crucial to remember that we all die in a system which WE create.
The pandemic has made it inevitable that we connect and engage meaningfully via virtual platforms. It is therefore invaluable that we have access to your correct email addresses and contact numbers. We request you to kindly spare a moment to fill in the form shared in this newsletter to help us update our database and reach out to you more effectively. Please note that all announcements, programs and other communication from IAPC will henceforth be communicated to members either via email or Whatsapp.
Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar
Announcements / Messages from IAPC
Block your calendars! IAPCON 2022 to be held between 11 & 13 February, 2022
The organizing team of IAPCON 2022, led by Dr. Anjum Joad from Jaipur, announces that IAPCON 2022 will be a virtual conference and that it will be held between 11th and 13th February, 2022.
Team IAPC joins hands with the organising team of IAPCON 2022 to welcome you to the virtual conference at Jaipur in 2022.
Share a minute to help IAPC connect with you better!
The pandemic has redefined how people connect and communicate with each other. IAPC has also shifted to conducting several of our programs and activities to virtual platforms. However, we noticed that in order to be able to embrace this ‘new way’ of engaging with each other, our database needs to be updated immediately to ensure that we can continue to connect with you.
We request you to please click on this link to update / share with us your contact details so that we may continue to meaningfully engage with each other as we bring to you exciting news, events, stories and other updates.
Please note that all future announcements, programs and other communications will henceforth be sent via the contact details that you have shared in this form.
Education and Training
Update from IAPC ACADEMY
Report on activities in June
We are happy to report that the palliative care fraternity from across the country and beyond, continued to participate in the IAPC Academy webinars that are being held every Monday between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
The June series began with Dr. Soumitra S. Datta’s very enlightening session on ‘Depression in a palliative care setting’. Dr. Rajam Iyer presented the following week to deliver a very riveting session on ‘Post-COVID lung and Palliative Care’. The third session for the June series was filled with practical experiences and was delivered by Dr. Babita Varkey as she presented on ‘Implementing Integrated Care Plan to improve end of life care outcomes in a hospice setting’. The June series concluded with Dr Pradeep Kulkarni’s very informative session on ‘Working with families and improving family satisfaction of care’.
We sincerely thank all our faulty for sharing their time and expertise with us during these lectures.
Sessions planned for July
The final lecture of the second series of the IAPC Academy Lecture will be conducted on 5th July 2021, after which there will be a break of 2 weeks. We are delighted to inform you that a total of 51 lectures have been delivered till now from both Lecture series 1 and 2. Please find below the final session from Series 2.
‘Lecture Series 3’ commences from 26th July 2021
It is with immense pride and joy that we launch ‘Lecture Series 3’ of the IAPC Academy from 26th July 2021. The upcoming series will consist of 25 lectures covering various aspects of Palliative Care.
We invite your enthusiastic participation for the upcoming series scheduled to begin in the last week of July 2021.
Please note that the recorded sessions of the lectures are now available on the IAPC website. Please click here to access them.
Last date to enroll in the IAPC’s CCEPC extended!
Registrations for the upcoming June batch of IAPC’s online Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care (CCEPC) has been extended to 5th July 2021.
Hurry and register in this basic course in palliative care to inculcate the principles of palliative care in your everyday practice and to improve patient care through proper communication and effective management of difficult symptoms.
Please click here to read more about this course and register for the course.
Apply now for the National Fellowship in Palliative Medicine / Nursing from IPM
The Institute of Palliative Medicine (IPM) at Calicut is inviting eligible candidates to apply for the National Fellowship in Palliative Medicine / Nursing. Please click here to know more about the eligibility criteria and the application process.
Articles from Experts
The unprecedented pattern of the COVID-19 pandemic has been posing extraordinary challenges, especially for the health care professionals. The Medical community realizes that, sharing knowledge, experience and strategies are crucial at this juncture. Concepts in Palliative Care, such as symptom management, spiritual care, grief and bereavement support, communication, and end of life care planning have gained significance during this pandemic era.
We bring to you 3 very enriching articles by renowned faculty in palliative care, who have been actively involving in providing care to patients and families infected and affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
Palliative care in Post-COVID – with a focus on PC_ILD
– Dr. Rajam Iyer, P. D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Center Mumbai, Mumbai
We are now in the second year of the pandemic. The medical profession has come together in sharing protocols, exchanging thoughts in diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
Yet, the bizarre nature, multi-organ involvement, varied presentations of the illness is constantly teaching us every day. The post-COVID symptoms are also multi-systemic, and challenging to manage. It requires a holistic multi-disciplinary team for an overall control of symptoms and to assist patients and caregivers to as normal quality of life as before the infection.
‘This can be best managed with integration of palliative care in care of COVID positive patients during and after the illness’ writes Dr. Rajam Iyer, a Pulmonologist and Palliative Care Physician, based at Mumbai. To continue reading this very relevant article filled with practical learnings, please follow this link.
What can I do in the current COVID induced crisis?
– Dr. Seema Rao, Karunashraya, Bengaluru
‘Change is the only thing that is constant’.
While all of us have been cultured and sensitized to adapt to change, the extraordinary changes and disruption in routine brought on by COVID-19 has been unprecedented and extremely challenging. Uncertainty has become the norm in the wake of the pandemic, with the unending trauma and upheaval impacting our daily lives.
Dr. Rao in her article shares with us strategies on how to be mindful and better cope with the horrid and overwhelming times brought on by the COVID crises.
Please click here to read this empowering article.
No one deserves to die alone: The importance of spiritual careduring a pandemic
– Dr. Krithika S. Rao (Shinde), KMC, MAHE, Manipal
One of the most overlooked spiritual needs during this COVID-19 crisis is our gross inability to ensure a peaceful death to those who are suffering and our helplessness in providing comfort to the grieving or bereaved families.
The unfortunate price paid for adopting the well intentioned ‘No visitor’ policy is the lack of closure for families and the additional distress due to their incapacity to perform the last rites and rituals for their loved one – Dr. Krithika S. Rao shares her thoughts on the importance of spiritual care during a pandemic.
Please click here to read the full article.
Stories from our COVID Heroes!
Ever wondered how it felt to be a frontline worker during the pandemic? or more specifically, how it felt to be a doctor or a nurse rendering care in a COVID center, during the midst of the second wave of the pandemic? Despite ailing our COVID warriors to be our Heroes, do we really know the risks that they are facing? Well, we bring to you the first-hand narrative of a doctor and a nurse, two front line COVID warriors since the beginning of the pandemic, as they recount their experiences while rendering care at a covid center, while witnessing the crisis unfold in front of them, real time.
We also bring to you the laudable efforts of a Children’s Palliative Care Service Provider as they continue to provision palliative care services during the pandemic to make the much needed care available and accessible for kids suffering from terminal illnesses.
With this feature, we take the opportunity to once again thank every single selfless front line worker or service provider for all that they have done and are still doing for us. Thank You!!
From the battle fields of a COVID Hospital
– Dr. Ram Singh, AIIMS, New Delhi
We were just breathing a sigh of relief after closing the COVID facility at our hospital, since the first wave of the pandemic had subsided in February. Life was just getting back to normalcy. Two months had barely passed when we were once again up and on our toes as the second wave of the pandemic hit us unexpectedly. During the initial days, we were in a state of shock as the second wave was nothing like the first wave. The severity of the cases, the sudden barrage of cases, the unimaginable number of cases needing hospitalization overwhelmed our health infrastructure.The hospital looked like no less than a war zone. Please click here to read the full narrative.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going: A Nurse’s perspective
– Mr. Nand Bhanwar Singh, AIIMS, New Delhi
“On one hand, the patient load rose astronomically, while on the other we noticed a critical shortage of beds, medical supplies and staff as several of my colleagues fell sick at the same time. It was a nightmare! While we felt proud of being called a‘Corona Warrier’, we still had to battle against the associated psychological effects of COVID such as the fear of getting infected, or worse, the fear of infecting our loved ones which included both my dear colleagues and our families.” Please click on this link to read more of this narrative.
GB Here for you
In this article, Aneka Paul, Stella Matthew and Ramalakshmi V, share with us the efforts that Golden Butterflies Children’s Palliative Care Foundation undertook, as they continued to support child patients and their families cope during COVID-19 pandemic.
Cancer Survivors Day, 6 June, 2021
June 6, is commemorated globally as the Cancer Survivors day. It is a day dedicated exclusively to raise awareness about cancer, to celebrate those who have survived, and to inspire those who have been recently diagnosed by providing the needed support to the affected families and their communities.
We celebrate this day by bringing to you two very motivating and inspiring reads. The first story, ‘One step at time: The story of a Cancer Survivor’ features how the timely support from an organization assisted Sarita and her family to maneuver the challenging path that lay ahead of them. The second article ‘A story of Resilience’ is a story that is straight from the heart, in which Mr. Param shares his personal story of survival and his victory against his battle with cancer.
Please click here to read these two articles.
Autistic Pride Day, 18 June, 2021
Austic Pride was celebrated for the first time in 2005 by Aspies for Freedom. The day creates an opportunity for people all over the world to raise awareness within their societies about Autism Spectrum Disorder and also helps the community to not see autistic people as disadvantaged individuals but simply as unique individuals.
A significant aspect of this day’s celebration is that it is predominantly celebrated as a community event led by autistic people themselves.
On this occasion we present to you two very interesting articles that highlight how integrating the elements of palliative care help improve the quality of life of autistic individuals and their families.
Dr. Mahanta’s piece ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder and its Management’ articulates what Autism Spectrum Disorder is and how it can be managed.
Ms. Srivastava’s story ‘Don’t tell me that the sky is the limit, when there are footprints on the moon!’ provides you with glimpses from her spirited journey of being an autism mom as she strives to provide her son, Sarthak, with the best quality of life that she is capable of providing.
Please click here to read both these illuminating articles.
World Father’s Day, 20 June, 2021
The World celebrates Father’s day on June 20 to celebrate, recognize and honour fathers, father figures, paternal bonds and the role of fathers’ in the society.
Fathers are known best for their ‘doing what needs to be done’ manner, being disciplinarians, and of course for being our guiding light. It takes us a while to realise that our fathers are also open minded, non-judgmental, supportive, firm yet gentle, and our pillar of strength. Don’t all these characteristics resonate with the very ethos of palliative care?
Well, we chose to honour fathers and the paternal bond that palliative care professionals so often share with their patients while caring for them. Mr. Lakshminarayanan’s story ‘Father and Palliative Care’ beautifully illustrates this bond that exists not only between a father and son, but also between Mr. Lakshminarayanan’s father and his medical team which provided him palliative care.
Please click here to read this beautiful and heartwarming story.
IJPC’s special edition on Renal Palliative Care
The steadily growing need for Renal Supportive Care (RSC) due to the rise in patients with chronic kidney diseases (CKDs), particularly end-stage kidney failure, has been garnering a lot of attention recently, both globally and in India. A team of experts have therefore put together a special edition on Renal Palliative Care in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care (IJPC) to generate awareness among Healthcare professionals of the interface between nephrology, palliative medicine, and primary care.
Dr. Ballal, Chairman, Manipal Hospital Enterprises Private Limited (MHEPL), adds that this supplement will feature “recommendations / guidelines which will be a guiding light to the treating clinicians, patients, and families for conservative non dialytic management of patients with severe renal failure to make sure they are cared for with compassion with as little or no pain and discomfort in a dignified manner and to also help them when the end comes so that they pass away with dignity and the family can cope with it as well as possible under the circumstances.”
Please click here to read this special edition.
The Model Legal Framework 2.0 for the End of Life Care in India
Vidhi Center for Legal Policy and The End of Life Care in India Task Force (ELICIT) continue their efforts to improve the end of life care in India as they develop the model legal framework 2.0. India’s recent surge of COVID-19 has once again highlighted the critical need for such legal frameworks as several people are being forced to encounter delicate end of life care related decisions.
Please click here to read the proposed model legal framework.
Psychosocial First Aid for children affected by Covid-19: A manual for first responders
NIMHANS in collaboration with UNICEF India, has published this manual to inform users about Psychosocial First Aid (PFA), and thereafter equip and empower them with basic tools and skills to provide PFA after identifying vulnerable children in the context of Covid-19. The manual aims to target first responders such as counselors, social workers and mental health professionals.
Please click here to access the complete manual.
The ‘Management of Covid-19 in Children’ guidelines are published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has launched the ‘Management of Covid 19 in Children’ guidelines. The document clearly describes and illustrates the clinical features, its stages, the required corresponding investigations and the subsequent management protocols to be followed.
Please click here to read the simple and easy to comprehend document.
The ICMR’s manual for Health Care Professionals to provide Psychosocial Support to family members in bereavement in the time of COVID-19
The manual published by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), targets healthcare professionals working with bereaved relatives / families of their COVID19 patients who are either no more or at increased risk of death. The guidelines aim to provide quick direction and support to clinicians when disclosing the news of death to the family; on providing immediate psycho-social (incl. emotional) support to grieving family members; and to help clinicians cope with their own emotional reactions.
The informative and clearly articulated manual can be read by clicking on this link.
‘Covid-19 pandemic and Mental Health: Experiences of Organizing Services at a Mental Health Care Institution’, a monograph by AIIMS, New Delhi
The Department of Psychiatry & National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi has published this monograph which could potentially serve as a model for continued functioning of mental health services in a tertiary care set up during a pandemic situation. The monograph includes a collection of articles, writings, experiences, discussions about strategies and activities adopted by them to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 as they continued service delivery.
Please click here to read this very interesting monograph.
‘Conquering Loneliness’, an article by Harvard Medical School
The trying and difficult times due to the nation-wide lockdowns has left several people physically and socially isolated. It is therefore of utmost importance that we practice self care and be mindful so that we can manage our stress better. To help you in this endeavor, we bring to you an article ‘Conquering loneliness’ from Harvard Medical School, which not only describes the impact loneliness has on individuals but also provides you with a few simple active steps which if practiced could help in conquering loneliness.
Please click here to read this article to stay fit emotionally and mentally.
Access more COVID-19 resources and guidelines Here
International Events & News
Participate in IAHPC’s Photo Contest
The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) invites members to participate and compete for exciting prizes in their 2021 IAHPC Photo Contest. Capture and share images that reflect practices and experiences in palliative and hospice care and also the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic may have brought on yourself, on patients and families, students, and colleagues. Your imagination is the limit!
Please note that the deadline to submit photos is August 31, 2021. The winners will be announced at the end of September. Please click here to learn more about this contest.
Participate in EAPC’s International Photo competition
Get behind the lens and provide a new image of what palliative care means as you enter the EAPC’s international photo competition. The contest invites you to share a photo that you may taken which explores a new dimension of palliative care while being a member of your team/hospice/palliative care unit/care home/hospital, or a patient or family you are supporting. The last date to submit your entry is July 31, 2021. Please click here to read full details about the contest.
A campaign to thank your palliative care heroes!
The Global Partners in Care has launched the “Palliative Care Heroes” campaign to say ‘Thank You’ to healthcare workers and volunteers delivering palliative care globally by recognizing and celebrating their magnanimous contributions towards improving the quality of living (and dying); particularly their selfless and tireless work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign invites you to either share photos and videos of these heroes, or draw a picture, or write a message to thank and acknowledge the superhuman work they do. Please click here to read more about this campaign.
Nominate a nurse for the Palliative Care Nurse of the Year Award 2021
To celebrate the huge and important role that nurses play, the International Journal of Palliative Nursing (IJPN) partnered with the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) to present an award to a nurse who has made a substantial difference to the experience of individuals in the palliative and end-of-life care phase. Show your support and nominate a nurse for the Palliative Care Nurse of the Year Award 2021 by 31st July 2021 latest.
Please click here to learn more about how to nominate a nurse for this award.
Participate in the 7th International Public Health Palliative Care Conference (PHPCI2022)
There is a significantly growing body of evidence about public health approaches at the end of life. The intersection of Public Health and Palliative Care has gained special prominence globally during the pandemic. The PHPCI2022 conference signals a new era for international research and practice as it aims to provide a critical and groundbreaking platform for sharing best-practice examples and evidence from research from around the world and across Europe. The theme of the conference is ‘Democratizing Caring, Dying And Grieving: Participation, Action, Understanding And Evaluation’. Please click here to read more about the conference.
Participate in the ‘Oral History Project’ of St. Christopher’s Hospice
Participate in a unique project designed to capture oral history testimony from a variety of different people which has helped shape the history and the life of St. Christopher’s Hospice, UK, the first modern hospice in the word.
If you have a story to share about St Christopher’s Hospice and would like to participate in this Oral History Project, then please contact the project team at oralhistoryproject@StChristophers.org.uk.
To offer help and support during challenging times
- Bereavement support India: https://www.bereavementsupportindia.co.in/
- Sukh Dukh Helpline: https://palliumindia.org/2020/10/sukh-dukh-helpline
- Caregiver Saathi: https://caregiversaathi.co.in/index.php
- Canhelper: https://www.cipla.com/press-releases-statements/can-helper-indias-first-toll-free-emotional-support-helpline-cancer
- National Helpline for Psychosocial and Mental health support offered by The MoHFW, GoI and NIMHANS: 080-46110007 (If you are a health care worker, please press 5 when prompted after dialing the above number to access a direct and dedicated line for healthcare workers)