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All of us have to die!

But only 15 per cent die suddenly… the REST tackle pain, debility or chronic illness.

“The medical establishment is not equipped to address issues which are not merely physical”, says Dr K Suresh Kumar, director at the Institute of Palliative Medicine, Calicut; where Dr Kumar has pioneered a movement of sorts.

A movement where the community leads – within a system called the ‘Kerala Model of Palliative Care’, developed by Dr Kumar where trained volunteers take a major role in patient care.

Akin to the old Indian model where caring for the old and demented was very social and family based, Dr Kumar explained that although, “Caring for the old has been mainly family based in many eastern communities…

“But with changes in the family structure and transformation of extended families to nuclear families, many families are not able to handle issues related to old age and dementia.

“Hence the need for the neighborhood to get involved in care”.

Dr Kumar will be a key speaker at the Global Welfare Summit to be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland on April 21 & 22.

Talking to Bharat Times, Dr Kumar said that he would be addressing ‘approaches and innovations to appropriately manage caring for the ageing’, specifically dwelling on countries that lack trained manpower – which could be a challenge in the next five years for countries like India.

“This would be a key focus at the Summit”, said Kay Ganley, CEO of Charlton Brown and organiser of the Summit.

“We are bringing together more than 400 international and national experts in the areas of palliative care, dementia care, technology and robotics and community services to discuss innovation and improvements in the aged care sector”, Ms Ganley said talking to Bharat Times.

kay ganleyIt is estimated that by 2055, nearly two thirds of the world’s population aged over 65 will be living in the Asia Pacific region…

“And shockingly in Australia there is currently one carer for every four older people, so it’s never been more important to discuss innovation in the sector”, Ms Ganley emphasised.

Dr Kumar, as a pioneer in a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Palliative Care in the developing world, said that “I will be talking about the scope and challenges in involving the neighborhood in the care of elderly and people with dementia.

“We are actually expanding the carer role to the neighbourhood…

“Question is how one can make sure that this happens”.

Dr Kumar reveals that “awareness regarding the scope of palliative care and pain relief is low among professionals as well as the public in India.

“Most patients in India with moderate-to-severe pain from life-limiting diseases are unaware that there are effective medications for her/his pain and that it may be relieved”.

A study on ‘quality of death’ carried out by Economist Intelligence Unit of ‘The Economist in 2010 covering 40 countries; ranks India the last – below Mexico, Brazil, Uganda among others.

“The Kerala Model has managed to develop an integrated health service delivery model with community participation in palliative care”, for India’s growing ageing population, Dr Kumar said.

The organiser of the Summit, Charlton Brown is a Brisbane-based training provider, which trains international students in Child Care, Aged Care, Disability, Youth Work, Community Services, Youth Justice, Business and Management.

“At its core the summit is about bringing together some of the greatest minds from across the globe and sharing knowledge and practices to improve the ageing experience worldwide”, Ms Ganley of Charton Brown said.

Referring to the Kerela model of the Indian elderly leading fruitful lives within their own homes, through community participation – Ms Ganley said that “I’m looking forward to learning about strategies to enable senior citizens to ‘age in place’ here in Australia.

“I’m also looking forward to taking these learnings back to our students at Charlton Brown”.

The ‘Quality of Death’ study by Economist Intelligence Unit also found that while India had ‘lamentably poor access to palliative care’; yet Kerala, if measured on the same points, would buck the trend.

With only 3% of India’s population, Kerela itself provides two-thirds of India’s palliative care services in India.

 

by Ramakrishna VenuGopal

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