KARUNASHRAYA

when cure is no longer an option … the Bangalore Hospice Trust BHT

It is the philosophy of Caring. It is also called Palliative Care or Continuing Care. The philosophy is to value life until death, and to give the dying the dignity of breathing their last in surroundings of their choice. The motive is a peaceful and dignified end. The poorer the patient (as most of ours are) the more the need for such care. At Karunashraya, we believe in adding quality to a patient’s remaining life till the last breath he or she takes. We work towards “adding life to days, when we cannot add days to life” … (full text Services).

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Address: Karunashraya, Old Airport-Varthur Main Road, Marathahalli, Kundalahalli Gate, Bangalore-560 037, India;
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About: BANGALORE HOSPICE TRUST: Bangalore Hospice Trust (BHT), a non-profit Public Charitable Trust, is a hospice rendering palliative care. It takes care of patients who are in the advanced stage of cancer.

The Need:

In India cancer hospitals are overcrowded and preference is given for patients whose disease has scope for control and cure, either through surgery, chemotherapy or radiation or a combination of the three. Several terminally ill cancer patients, on account of poverty, ignorance and total lack of basic facilities, do not receive the required medical and nursing care.

The very nature of the disease causes severe pre-terminal and terminal pain and unless the required dosages of medicines are administered continuously in the right quantities and at appropriate intervals, the quality of the remaining life of the patient is very low. More than 80% of patients come for treatment when the disease has spread to regional nodes or beyond. Lack of awareness, inadequate access to proper diagnostic facilities, sub-optimal economic conditions and fear lead to a large number of patients presenting themselves at an advanced stage of the disease. In fact, in some ways, this stage in the life of the patient is the most critical because he is no longer under active medical (curative) care, and has been discharged from a hospital and sent home where no facilities are available to the patient.

More than 80% of our patients are from the very low economic sections. What does one do when a terminal patient’s home is no better than a small shack, in the middle of a slum? What does one do when the bread earners of the family have to go out to earn their daily wage without which the family would starve and there is a terminal cancer patient in the house? These are real circumstances in India.

It is against this background the BHT came into being in 1994, with the aim of improving the quality of life of Advanced Stage Cancer patients. The In-patient facility is appropriately named “Karunashraya” which means abode of compassion.

The hospice provides a total of 50 beds divided between four wards and few single bed rooms. Apart from expert medical care, we have trained counsellors who take care of the psychological and emotional support so badly required for the patient and their families. Individual and group counselling are an integral part of the care provided at Karunashraya. We provide personal care, emotional support, respite care, symptom control, appropriate nutrition, bereavement support and on occasion, financial and legal planning advice. All these services are provided totally free of cost. The building also provides accommodation for full time nursing staff, helpers and other Para-medicals … (full long text about).

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