Palliative Care Counselling Workshop by CanSupport

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The School of Humanities and Social Science (SoHSS) organised a workshop on Palliative Care Counselling. The workshop was conducted by CanSupport on 5th-6th April 2016. CanSupport provides home and palliative care to patients with cancer. As most patients prefer the comfort of their homes when their cancer advances, CanSupport sends teams of doctors, nurses and counsellors to their homes in and around Delhi to provide the end-of-life care and support. The organisatio nhas been recognized internationally for the quality of their care and trained staff. With the support of the donors and well-wishers, all the services are provided free of charge. Patients and their families also have access to a help-line, subsidized supportive medication and equipment, day-care, counselling services, training for family members in basic nursing skills, peer support, patient navigation services and other resources.

In the first session of day one, the participants were introduced to the concept of “Palliative Care” by Dr. Ravinder Mohan, the head of “Knowledge, Education, Training and Research” team of CanSupport. Dr Mohan re-instated the definition of Palliative Care, as put forward by WHO, mentioning that it not only aims at promoting end-of-life care but also encompasses the concept of complete overall care of individuals beginning from prevention of a disease to caring to help a patient to attain a dignified death. He engaged the participants in an interactive discussion on the subject and highlighted various significant points on how Palliative Care shall gain an increasing significance with the rising of the aging population worldwide. He clearly identified that care for the elderly forms an extremely noteworthy and significant part of Palliative Care. His discussion was followed by the screening of two short-films on the issuesand its growing importance across the world. The second session, post-lunch, of the workshop focused on communication skills and counselling techniques followed by a talk on psycho-social concerns by Ms Bina Akthar. The participants were exposed to various objectives and techniques associated with counselling in Palliative Care. The participants also took part in the exercise of ‘role-play’ which gave a fair idea of the praxis and theory of Palliative Care Counselling.On the second day, issues like “breaking the bad news” and dealing with reactions of patients thereafter with the idea of spiritual support were discussed. A few students were invited to participate with the resource persons in exercises of ‘role-play’ to combat the problems pertinent to loss and grief encountered by terminally-ill patients. The participants of the workshop were also informed about the concept of “Bereavement Care” which aims to be therapeutic for families of the patients who die of terminal illness.

The workshop, convened by Minakshi Biswas, faculty of SoHSS, served to provide a platform for enriching experience where the participants not only learnt about the concept of Palliative care and medicine, but also became aware of how to empathise with the others who are terminally ill and need attention, love and companionship from the society at large. Some students, encouraged from the workshop, showed earnest interest for pursuing internship with CanSupport in future.

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