Palliative care improves the quality of life of people suffering of life-threatening, debilitating or geriatric illnesses by providing relief from pain and other physical symptoms and support and care for psychosocial needs. To ensure the most effective care for patients, palliative care begins at the point of diagnosis, continues throughout treatment, and bereavement support is offered to the family after the patient’s death. If cure is possible, palliative care provides essential care to provide alleviation of chronic pain, control symptoms, and minimize suffering. While compassion remains a crucial component, palliative care is a specialized field of medical treatment. It adopts a personalized, holistic approach, where the individual as a whole gets more attention than isolated symptoms. The importance given to right communication and the psychosocial aspects of care makes palliative care a distinct branch of medicine.
In response to this essential public health need, SANJEEVAN (an initiative of Sri Aurobindo Society) offers certified training courses for medical and paramedical professionals related to palliative care with a vision of facilitating access to affordable, safe and quality pain relief and palliative care to all those requiring it in the country. One such specialized training initiated by SANJEEVAN is Basic Certification Course in Palliative Auxiliary Nursing (BCCPAN).
This course introduces trainees to a range of methods of palliative care delivery at homecare, as outpatients and inpatients, and in link centers and includes lectures by specialists in the field, assignments, presentations and project preparation and assessment. Training in palliative nursing results in the following
• A greater knowledge of disease processes commonly seen in palliative care
• A better knowledge regarding pain and symptom management, and
• An increased understanding of psychosocial issues, including grief and bereavement
On February 12, 2017, a session for Batches 2 and 3 of nursing students pursuing BCCPAN on ‘Management of Bereavement’ was conducted. This training included
• integrating the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care with familial support and love;
• offering a support system to help patients and their families to live as actively as possible until death;
• offering a robust support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
• using a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if required; and
• enhancing quality of life and also positively influence the course of illness with activities such as meditation, painting, music, etc.
This session also helped the community nurses to understand, accept and manage their own emotion well-being when handling death from such close quarters and regularly, thus making it a very important session in the BCCPAN course.