Palliation and WhatsApp
Irfan is barely 18 and very angry… for life has been very unkind to him. His osteosarcoma has recurred with a large solid metastasis in his chest… he is now having trouble in breathing and can barely walk a few steps before he gets breathless. He hails from Gumla in Jharkhand and has to travel a good 160 km to our hospice. He is very anxious and needs frequent counselling … and in steps WhatsApp!
Renu has been married for only 8 months now… her husband has been diagnosed with incurable leukaemia… the couple is devastated! Future appears bleak and dark… they are desperately searching for meaning and purpose… they keep in touch almost on a daily basis using WhattsApp. We try to sustain hope and restore a sense of meaning and purpose.
Providing palliation in resource poor settings can be challenging… more so when you have no funding! We exploit WhattsApp and encourage people to send latest photographs of patients, medications, etc… if needed, we even make out prescriptions for old patients… the scope is endless. We have actually had patients from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Bangalore, etc. who had consulted us regularly.
In resource poor settings like in India, the only way to make Palliative care available is to optimize the use of resources which are available, accessible, affordable and acceptable by the community.
In fact we have strongly recommend the use of this app to the Govt. of Jharkhand in designing its Palliative care policy.
A big thanks to WhattsApp… are you listening?