Neuro-palliative care in India

Neurology in palliative care is receiving an increasingly high profile at global conferences. Professor David Oliver, European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Board Member and Chair of the EAPC Neurology in Palliative Care Reference Group, reports.

Professor David Oliver

In Bengaluru (Bangalore) in South India, a conference was recently held on Neuro-Palliative Care, organised by Karunashraya Hospice and the Forum for Indian Neurology Education, with financial support from Sun Pharma. The aim of the three-day meeting was to allow neurologists and palliative care professionals to meet together and learn more about the role of palliative care for patients with neurological disease.

Although palliative care has been increasingly discussed for people with neurological care in many countries there has been limited development in India. Palliative care services have been primarily focused on the care of cancer patients but this is changing and many hospice and palliative care services are including people with non-malignant disease.

I was delighted to be part of the international faculty for the meeting. Professor Janis Miyasaki, from Edmonton Canada, and Professor Maisha Robinson, from the Mayo Clinic, Florida in the USA were also involved. The conference also brought together neurologists and palliative care professionals from India who presented on various aspects of palliative care and included the opportunity for all the delegates to be involved in four role play scenarios.

I spoke on the recent Consensus document produced by the European Academy of Neurology and the EAPC to introduce the concepts of palliative care (see a previous blog post ) Janis spoke on dementia and Parkinson’s disease and Maisha spoke on advance care planning.

Faculty members at the conference.

There were many positive comments from delegates including:

“ It helped me to understand myself as a person and as a doctor. It will help to improve the outlook for our patients’ families, especially [the] elderly. We learned how to improve the happiness quotient of our patients and caretakers so that there is much to give them besides a prescription.”

“Wonderful, innovative, never before held meeting. Much to learn and think about, and it all added new dimensions to our practice.”

“The course helped to redefine the scope of medical therapy and management. This will help us in becoming better human beings and practising the art and not just the science of medicine.”

More than 35 neurologists attended the course, which is one of the first in the world looking solely at this area of care. They enjoyed taking part in the role play exercises, even though these were totally new experiences in Indian medical education. Dr Jeremy Johnson, the Director of Education and Research at Karunashraya Hospice, and Dr Roop Gursahani, the organisers of the course, said:

“We were delighted at the attendance and the feedback has been very positive. The aim is to increase the opportunities for collaboration between neurology and palliative care, to enable patients to maintain as good a quality of life as possible. We feel that there has been a real step forward and the first steps have been taken to meet these goals.”

Links and Resources

More about the author
Alongside his role within the European Association for Palliative Care, David Oliver is an honorary professor at the University of Kent and a retired consultant in palliative medicine at the Wisdom Hospice in Rochester, Kent, UK.


This entry was posted in EAPC ACTIVITIES, EAPC Task Forces/Reference Groups, Neurology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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