Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of humans’ lives. A mortal’s life is always marked by illness, aging, and death. Life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, are synonymous with death and leave its sufferers more exposed to excruciating pain with every passing day.
People’s impressions of the victim alter in an instant, and the only thing left for the victim’s family to do is watch their loved one suffer while having no idea how to help! Palliative care serves as a sanjeevani in such a dismal situation, relieving patients’ physical and psychological suffering and misery while also enabling their family caregivers to become skilled nursing aides at home, perhaps reducing their financial burden.
The Amrit Dhara Palliative Care Trust (ADPCT) is a similar registered non-profitable voluntary institution listed in the Global directory of palliative care organizations that delivers palliative care to the needy cancer patients of Odisha and neighboring regions. With its main office located in Laxmi Nagar, in the Patia area of Bhubaneswar, Amrit Dhara was founded in the pre-covid era with a vision of becoming the most trustworthy, accessible, and affordable palliative care facility in Odisha.
“Death is inevitable but suffering is not–with this guiding principle in mind, Amrit Dhara laid the groundwork in 2020 with the collaborative vision of Namrata Rath and Dr. Mami Parija to provide a ‘Nectar of Life’ to terminally ill patients who have no hope but to suffer. It promotes the idea of maintaining a good quality of life before death and providing the best possible support to the family when their loved ones die away. However, just like all other organizations, our trust faced a number of obstacles, the most significant of which was a lack of public understanding about palliative care. People focus on hospitals or clinics when they are diagnosed with fatal diseases such as cancer, but they never consider a trust that includes skilled doctors, trained nurses, counselors, and personnel all in one location.”Dr Bidhu K Mohanty (Advisor at Amrit Dhara)
Amrit Dhara sets a number of training, academic, and research programs to strengthen the trust’s medical and scientific capabilities. Amrit Dhara has trained 240 volunteers and 50 health-care professionals over the last four years through a variety of workshops, short-term training, seminars, and citizen-centric awareness campaigns held at schools, colleges, and community levels. It has also advocated for the importance and advantages of palliative care medical services in 29 districts of Odisha.
Under palliative care, Amrit dhara focuses on several facilities such as free consultation, day care for cancer patients at Amrit dhara OPD or home, hygiene service, senior care home service, emergency van service, counseling, and social-spiritual-psychological support as part of bereavement care in order to manage pain for patients and their families completely free of cost in all circumstances. Furthermore, as an approved pharmacy license and RMI license holder, the trust dispenses morphine and other medications to underprivileged patients and provides services completely free. Doctors are always accessible to consult with caregivers, either in person or via digital means, to assist them in any way feasible. To access the mental stress of the patient and their family members, they enable psychotherapy for patients and caregivers via counseling.
Nonetheless, community volunteers play an important role in Amrit Dhara by raising awareness about palliative care at the local level and fostering a long-term relationship between the trust and the patient’s family. They act as a link between the patient and Amrit Dhara, supporting and encouraging them throughout their treatment.
“Cancer can often be detected at the final stage, leaving little chance of survival and filling the lives of patients and their families with confusion, misery, and inability to make decisions. In such darkness, my role is always to reduce their stress and psychological breakdown, navigate their emotions in order to provide a quality of life to the patient, and empower family members to absorb the grief in the aftermath as part of bereavement care, which we begin in parallel with the first day of our day-care facility.”Sailaja Tripathy, Counselor at Amrit Dhara
To date, Amrit Dhara has expanded crucial support to nearly 500 patients. Thanks to Amrit Dhara’s dedicated team of doctors, nurses, counselors, and volunteers who provided advance care plans for pain management and established contact with family members who had lost loved ones. However, Amrit Dhara’s goal can only be accomplished if palliative care services reach every locality in Odisha and a large number of people come in support of this remarkable endeavor.