Paliative Care Unit

kerala university

University of Kerala initiates interventions in community by starting Student Palliative Clubs in affiliated college as part of its institutional social responsibility and outreach programme. By caring terminal patients and those suffering from acute illness and mental agony in the community, this welcome initiative aims at creating the spirit of service in the minds of entire student community of the University. Engaging students in palliative care has duel advantages. One is that, their energy can be utilized for the benefit of patients with chronic disease. Another is that, inculcating the spirit of care can have a positive effect on the attitude of students.

It was with this objective in mind that the finance Committee Convener of the Syndicate Adv. K.H Babujan proposed the starting of Student Palliative Clubs in affiliated colleges while presenting the budget for the year 2019-20. For meeting the initial expenditure of this venture an amount of Rs. 100000/- (Rupees ten lakh only) was earmarked in the University budget. The Syndicate, University of Kerala resolved to authorise the Programme Coordinator, National Service Scheme and Director, Students Services, University of Kerala for starting Palliative Clubs in all affiliated Colleges. The formal inauguration of this project was made by Shri. E. P Jayarajan, the Minister for Industries, Sports and Youth Affairs in a meeting conducted on 21 June 2019 at V.J.T. Hall, Thiruvananthapuram.

It is proposed that while the National Service Scheme will initiate the implementation of the scheme as well as monitor and supervise it, the Department of Students Services will ensure the involvement of the Students Union of the colleges in the implementation of the scheme. Organising awareness campaigns to popularize palliative care among the student community, assist in the rehabilitation of the patients, promote personality of volunteers and students through community services and encourage community participation in the palliative care activities are the major objectives of the scheme. The Coordinator, National Service Scheme and the Director, Students Services will give proper directions to the NSS units and College Unions respectively for starting Palliative Care Units in the colleges which have to function in association with National Service Scheme as well as College Unions. An advisory committee consisting of the Principals of the College as Chairman will be constituted to advise and monitor the activities. This committee may also consist of the NSS Programme Officer, NSS Volunteer Secretary, College Union Chairman and College Union General Secretary as members. Training programme for Palliative Volunteers will be provided by the Centre for Agro Ecology and Public Health Centre, functioning in the Department of Economics, University of Kerala. Two day residential training will be conducted on 9 -10 October 2019 at the Senate Chamber, University of Kerala, Palayam and the resource persons for the training will be provided by the Pallium India, a national registered charitable trust formed in 2003 aimed at providing quality palliative care and effective pain relief for patients in India.

From the affiliated colleges of the University situated in the four southern districts of Kerala, around 250 volunteers selected from colleges will be given training and it is envisaged that the trained volunteers in turn will motivate the whole student population. Palliative service will be offered from each college by a team of 25 students and among them 15 will be NSS Volunteers and 10 will be from College Unions. The Palliative volunteers will associate with the Palliative Care units functioning at various places. Since every NSS unit have their own adopted villages, the service of volunteers will be provided in these areas. The volunteers check the patients for drug compliance. They should also make an assessment of the social and financial issues and plan possible support by the Society. Palliative Care is an approach to care, that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment, and treatment of pain and other problems –physical, psychosocial and spiritual. The patients and their family members very often feel helpless, depressed, defeated and angry. At the community level, lack of palliative care places an unnecessary burden on hospital or clinic resources. Through the intervention of the students, University authorities hope that the suffering patients will get solace and at the same time the personality of the students will improve in course of time.