Friends of Vellore was delighted to respond to CMC’s request to establish a Palliative Care Centre and together with generous gifts the unit was built together with a separately funded Hospice at Sneha Deepam. CMC were anxious 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 where a doctor, a nurse and a social worker from Palliative Care travel within a 50km radius of Vellore to help patients and their families at a bleak time. About 1200 patients a year are provided with pain relief and other drugs and the family and community guided in how best to support the patient. Respite care is available at the Hospice although most patients prefer to die at their home. Most of the patients are very poor, often the nature of their illness causes prejudice and some are even abused.
Only about 3% of Indians have access to Palliative Care and the unit is looking to promote Palliative Care practice in India as well as extending knowledge in Vellore.
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.
The Palliative care team also help families who may have lost a bread winner to return to a sustainable lifestyle and generate income and a number of donors have kindly helped families set up small businesses or helped with the cost of children going to school.