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PA23 Alternative method to providing palliative care where there are caregiver shortages
  1. Aditya Manna,
  2. SK Sarkar and
  3. LK Khanra
  1. Narikeldaha Prayas, India

Abstract

Background Due to financial incapability and absence of manpower poor families often fail to carry their advanced cancer patients to the nodal centres. This pilot study will explore whether communication by mobile phone can lessen this burden.

Aim To identify and try to solve to the extent possible the main difficulties in giving palliative care to the terminal cancer patients of the area.

Method Initially a plan was generated regarding management of an advanced cancer patient in a nodal centre at District Head Quarters. Subsequently every two weeks, a trained social worker attached to the nodal centre will follow up and give necessary advice and emotional support to the patients and their families through their registered mobile phone number. Patient’s family were also encouraged to communicate with the team by phone in case of fresh complaints and urgency.

Results Since initiation, cancer patients were contacted by mobile phone every two weeks to enquire about their difficulties. In 76% of the situations, trained social workers could give necessary advice by phone regarding management of their physical symptoms. Moreover patient’s family were really overwhelmed by the emotional support offered by the team over phone. Only 24% of cancer patients had to attend the nodal centre for expert advice from Palliative Care specialists.

Conclusion This novel approach helped

  • In providing regular physical and emotional support to the patients and their families.

  • In significantly reducing the financial and manpower problems of carrying patients to the nodal units.

  • In improved quality of life of patients by continuous guidance. More and more team members can take help of this new strategy for better communication and uninterrupted care.

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