How does palliative and hospice care support end-of-life cancer patients?

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How does palliative and hospice care support end-of-life cancer patients?

QuestionsCategory: cancerHow does palliative and hospice care support end-of-life cancer patients?
Poorna malavath asked 8 months ago
How does palliative and hospice care support end-of-life cancer patients?

1 Answers
Dr. Bommu Venkateshwara Reddy Staff answered 6 months ago
Palliative and hospice care are rising concepts in India, gaining significance with the growing population and rising cancer rates. Transactionally, palliative care is embracing a holistic approach to enhance the quality of life for patients battling chronic or life-limiting conditions. In diversity, hospice care, a specialized form of palliative care, is catering to patients in their illness’s advanced stages, approaching life’s end.   In India, teams of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers are forming the core of palliative and hospice care. Together, they’re collaboratively offering comprehensive physical, emotional, and spiritual support to cases and their families.   Here’s how palliative and hospice care actively support end-of-life cancer patients:  

Pain Management

  End-of-life cancer patients often grapple with pain, a distressing and common symptom. In India, palliative care teams employ various strategies to alleviate pain, including:  
  • Administering Medications: Opioids remain central to managing pain for end- of- life cancer patients. The use of other medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( NSAIDs) and antidepressants also plays a part in pain relief.
  • Applying Nerve Blocks: These provide targeted pain relief in specific areas of the body.
  • Offering Physical Therapy: This approach enhances the range of motion and curtails muscle spasms, contributing to pain reduction.

Symptom Management

  Palliative care teams address other prevalent symptoms like nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and fatigue, utilizing a mix of medications, therapies, and techniques.  

Emotional and Spiritual Support

  In India, palliative care teams extend emotional and spiritual backing to patients and their families, encompassing individual and group counseling, grief support, and spiritual guidance.   These teams also assist in making informed end-of-life care choices, offering insights into options like hospice care and aiding patients in making decisions aligning with their and their families’ preferences.  

Statistics on Palliative and Hospice Care in India

  • Similarly, as per the Indian Association of Palliative Care, there are presently over 500 palliative care centers in India. Still, this number significantly needs to meet the demand.
  • According to a 2020 study in the Indian Journal of Cancer, a bare of 10 Indian cancer patients have access to palliative care.
  • The study specifically linked lack of awareness, limited access, and financial constraints as the primary obstacles to penetrating palliative care.


  India has initiated steps towards establishing and enhancing palliative and hospice care. However, a significant gap remains, underscoring the urgent need to broaden these services and elevate awareness to ensure every cancer patient receives the all-encompassing care they rightfully deserve.

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