Kerala has announced a comprehensive new palliative care policy for the critically-ill with an aim to provide them with 'high quality service with social support’.
The new policy is an upgradation of the existing one, announced in November 2018.
A Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, December 11, approved the Palliative Care Policy 2019.
Speakers to reporters, Kerala Health Minister KK Shylaja said, “The existing policy was upgraded as the need was felt to revise the policy by taking into account the present situation and after consultations incorporating experts of various fields. The policy is home-centric. More than 350 non-governmental, social-based organisations and local bodies will be engaged in providing palliative care. At present, there are 1,084 primary palliative care units and 1,51,454 patients in the state."
The palliative care units, at present, functioning across 213 Community Health Centres and 114 other hospitals. Home-centric palliative care is being provided by 393 voluntary organisations. There are 15 palliative care units in the government sector and five voluntary units in the state.
As per the latest policy, a palliative care grid would be set up at the state-level by including all the systems that provide palliative care.
Training and registration will be provided at the state level for voluntary organisations that provide palliative home care. Fresh training will be given to 500 to 1,000 voluntary workers in each district. Palliative care units and training system would be set up at Medical College Hospitals Community Medicine wings. Palliative care units will also be set up in Ayurveda and homeopathy hospitals.
“A new brand will be designed for the products manufactured by those who need rehabilitation and a special training programme will be provided for them. The entire team of doctors, nurses and field staff of the Health Department will be provided training and a system will be set up for palliative care at each level concerned. Training will also be provided for interested doctors and nurses of the private sector,” the minister said.
“Kerala is the first state that launched a palliative care policy in the state. The aim is to provide palliative care services for all individuals with the support of the society. The health system of the state will be improved to address the palliative care needs of the state, said the Cabinet decision approving the new policy.