In 1994, the Foundation started programmes to create awareness on the need and scope of palliative care. In 1995, a surgeon from our Foundation received palliative care training at the Oxford International Centre for Palliative Care (OICPC) under a McMillan Fellowship grant. In 1996, a radiotherapist joined the Foundation and took active interest in the palliative care work. This gave a further boost to our activities and we conducted several one-off awareness and training programmes in Indore. The support of Ms. Gilly Burn, palliative care nurse from U.K., was invaluable in this initial phase.
Then came the AusAID supported pilot project for developing a district based Palliative Care model. The decision to take up this project was based on the findings of our WHO funded survey on incidence of pain in rural areas. The project was implemented in the district of Dhar, a predominantly tribal area of Madhya Pradesh, with active support of the Dhar District Administration. According to Dr. Robert Twycross, a well-known Palliative Care expert, this project has the potential for replication in the other districts of India.
The contribution of Dr. Robert Twycross, Emeritus Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine, Oxford University; to our efforts is invaluable. We specially appreciate all the classroom and bedside clinical training that he has done for us, all in an honorary capacity. He is a truly inspiring teacher. In recognition of his monumental contribution he was made Honorary Member of the Indore Cancer Foundation, only the 2nd to be so honored.
In February 2001, we entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with OICPC for the setting up of a palliative care clinic at Indore. Following this, a physician volunteered to bear the cost and attend a palliative care training programme at the Calicut Pain and Palliative Care Clinic.
From 2002 to 2006 we offered palliative care as an in-patient facility at the Mission Hospital, Indore and as an OPD facility at our Institute in Rau & our Shalini Bhouraskar centre, Indore.
From 15th August 2013, we started our Padma-Keshav Trust funded hospice, “Kirpalaya”, for terminally ill cancer patients, who cannot be managed in their homes. Training in palliative care and home care activities will also be conducted from this facility. The Indo American Cancer Association (IACA) is also supporting this effort.
Continuing with our efforts to spread awareness about palliative care as also train medical personnel in the care of terminally ill care patients, we organised a CME in December 2014 and week long palliative care programmes in February 2015.