Palliative Care in Mizoram operates as a part of Mizoram State Cancer Institute (MSCI). MSCI is one of India’s recognized Cancer Centre. Palliative Care is an integral part of comprehensive cancer care. The need becomes more pronounced as the disease advances. Palliative Care is now recognized as separate specialized branch of medical science. Palliative Care in the institution has been functioning since February 2006 with one doctor and one nurse – trained in Palliative Care and one female attendant, and it is running till date. Initially it was established with technical and financial sponsorship by an NGO called Pallium India. After being funded by Pallium India 2 (two) years, it was then taken up by the Mizoram State Government in December 2009 according to the MOU.
Under the new programme called National Programme for Palliative Care (NPPC) which was initiated by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, additional staff of one doctor, four nurses and one multitask worker were recruited and posted under Palliative Care Unit, MSCI, w.e.f., December 2016.
Staffs – One doctor trained in Palliative Care.
One doctor (MD, Medicine under NPPC)
One multi-task worker.
Functions – Palliative Care functions mainly on OPD, IPD and Home-visit. We cover only cancer patients as of now.
OPD – the clinic runs daily during regular office hours. Patients came to the OPD if they can, otherwise close relatives or care-giver came to OPD. Morphine tablet is distributed free of cost to patient in need of strong analgaestic. Dose titration and strict maintenance like pleural fluid aspiration, ascitic fluid aspiration, NG tube passage, catheterization, dressing of wounds, etc. are also carried out. OPD is closed on Sundays, Government holidays and on Second Saturday every month.
IPD – IPD functions since December 2012. Palliative care was assigned 8 (eight) beds initially. Since May 2013, number of bed assigned was increased to 10 (ten). Patient in need of care has been admitted from time to time.
Home visits – Bed-ridden patients in need of care are visited at their homes. Home visit is carried out once weekly on every Friday. Since there is no separate vehicle for home visits, number of patients visited per day is limited.
Team meeting is held once a week every Wednesday. Presentations, detailed assessment of patient, emphasis on terms combined and co-operation are done.
Education regarding Palliative care to health care professionals and NGO was carried out. A tentative training on Palliative Care was organized, with the view to improve the system of the drug available to the acute/terminally ill patient through selected medical officers in all District Hospitals and Civil Hospital Aizawl.
Palliative Care Unit of MSCI was cordially invited by the Jiv Daya Foundation to attend the Indian Palliative Care Initiative (IPCI) 3rd Annual Meeting at New Delhi last year on 21st and 22nd September 2013. In the regard, we had a presentation of our works. This is an opportunity to interact with other Palliative Organization from both within and outside India.
The Palliative Care unit has done remarkably well considering the very limited sources. However, much more need to be done in order to promote better and continual services to cancer patients.
A summary of the work done by Palliative Care Unit with the monthly statistics of morphine distribution is enclosed. Blank boxes represent shortage of morphine.