Children infected with HIV/Aids as well as their parents will now get palliative care that caters to physiological, social, spiritual and emotional needs, besides medical care.
The Regional Paediatric anti-retroviral therapy (ART) Center at Sion Hospital in collaboration with the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) has started the country's first paediatric palliative care programme for children infected with HIV/Aids.
“Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child's body, mind and spirit and involves giving support to the family. It begins when an illness is diagnosed and continues regardless of whether or not the child receives treatment directed at the disease,” said Dr Mamta Manglani, chief of regional paediatric anti-retroviral therapy centre at Sion Hospital.
“Our regional centre is the first among the seven national regional centres in the country to start it for HIV infected children.”
The children will be helped to deal with the life-limiting disease through counselling. Healthcare personnel will also encourage interaction between the patient and family members. “Children will be given total pain management. So far, their pain was being addressed only at the physical level. Now it will also be dealt at the emotional, social and psychological level,” said Dr Manglani.
Follow-ups are also part of palliative care. At Tata Hospital, cancer patients are followed-up through the telephone. This helps doctors anticipate health problems, said Dr Manjiri Dighe, consultant, palliative care, Tata Hospital. Dr Dighe is part of the team, which is training doctors in Sion hospital.“Very few doctors and lay people are aware of palliative care. The number of professionals trained in this important area are few,” said Dr Dighe.