Friends of Vellore was delighted to respond to CMC’s request to establish a Palliative Care Centre. With generous gifts the unit was built, together with a separately funded hospice at Sneha Deepam. CMC were determined that the healing ministry should extend to those who were terminally ill and beyond medical support but yet needed compassionate care and love at the end of their lives.
Friends of Vellore also provided a vehicle and continue to fund fuel costs for the Home Care Programme which cares for those in their home who are unable to travel to hospital. A doctor, a nurse and a social worker from Palliative Care travel within a 50km radius of Vellore to visit patients and their families at this bleak time. About 120 patients a year are provided with pain relief and other drugs and the family and community are guided in how best to support the patient. Most of the patients are very poor, often the nature of their illness causes prejudice and some are even abused.
There is effectively no income from this service so the travel, drugs and staff time must be paid for. A contribution to Palliative Care will ensure that a terminally ill patient and their family are supported at a critical time. Friends of Vellore sent £3,326 in 2018 to cover the running costs of the vehicle, medication, social rehabilitation and supplies such as mattresses and mosquito nets. Social rehabilitation includes non-health care related support especially for the family – for example: school books for children, food, small seed grants for income generation.
The Palliative care team also help families who may have lost a bread winner to return to a sustainable lifestyle and generate income. A number of donors have kindly helped families set up small businesses or helped with the cost of children going to school.
Only about 3% of Indians have access to palliative care so the unit is looking to promote palliative care practice in India as well as extending knowledge in Vellore.