transparentgif
 
 

NEWS
» Latest News
» News Archive
» Upcoming Events

 News Archive: recent < | > earlier


NEWS ARCHIVE

 

 

INDIA, Rishikesh, December 25th, 2016 
December Clinic

Ganga Prem Hospice’s last cancer clinic of the year fell on a cold and rainy Christmas Day. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a busy seven hour clinic, registering 93 patients in total.

Of these, 56 were suffering from cancer, including eleven terminally ill individuals and four suspected cancer cases. As usual, breast cancer (ten cases) and oral cancers (eighteen cases), were the most prevalent. There were patients whose prognosis was poor, such as a pancreatic cancer patient for whom palliative care was certainly the need of the hour, and there were other patients for whom surgery and curative treatment was possible. Patients came from all over Uttarkhand state and their ages ranged from nine to seventy years old. Ten current GPH home care patients also came for a follow up visit with the oncologist.  



Patients waiting outside the clinic
Patients waiting outside the clinic
Christmas tree at the clinic
Christmas tree at the clinic

 

 


In honor of the Christmas Day holiday, volunteers arrived early to decorate the clinic with tinsel, a Christmas tree and a welcome banner. The hospice staff were also ready to begin earlier than usual since senior surgeon Dr AK Dewan would be the only oncologist at the clinic.

Dr. Dewan was supported by palliative care doctors Aditi Chaturvedi and Brenda Ward, two dental surgeons from Seema Dental College & Hospital, and an Ayurvedacharya. GPH staff, nurses and volunteers, including two complementary therapists– a Reiki master and a physical therapist - were also on hand to assist and contribute. Another volunteer doctor conducted relaxing meditation sessions for patients in a quiet room nearby.


Meditation at the cancer clinic
Meditation at the cancer clinic
The boy patient with his father and sponsor
The boy patient with his father and sponsor

 

 


As Ganga Prem Hospice becomes more widely known and respected in Rishikesh, patients are now frequently referred to the clinic by local individuals such as the proprietors of Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar. This restaurant provides tea, refreshments and meals for all hospice events, donates rations to poor patients and even gave a job to a young boy whose mother died of cancer. After recently reading about an ill child in the newspaper who requires weekly blood transfusions, the restaurant proprietors not only started supporting the under-privileged family but also brought the patient and his father to the GPH cancer clinic. From the clinic the child was referred to a leading cancer institute in Delhi where his condition was diagnosed as Congenital Pure Red Cell Aplasia, a serious and rare anaemia condition that can cause limited life expectancy. Dr Dewan confirmed that the pediatric oncologist's directions were correct and suggested that treatment should be continued under her guidance.

By the end of the clinic, twenty-six different cancers had been recorded among the fifty-six cancer patients. Two oncologists from a Dehradun-based cancer hospital also came to meet Dr Dewan and see the work of GPH, and an Ayurvedacharya from Kerala, who was visiting the clinic for the first time, offered free therapy for terminally ill patients. Four young nurses from Haridwar were  interviewed for employment at the Hospice.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, 17th December, 2016
GPH Second Christmas Party

Christmas was celebrated again this year with patients, their families, bereaved family members, staff, supporters and volunteers at the GPH office in Rishikesh on Saturday 17th December, 2016. The event provided an opportunity for everyone to come together to relax, share a meal and enjoy music and dance.

Early in December, a team of volunteers began preparations for the party to ensure that the event was sponsored, food provided and entertainment arranged. Invitation cards delivered by the home care team were hand-made in order to provide a personal touch. For those not well enough to attend, close family members were invited to join the party on their behalf.  



Patients and their relatives enjoying the party
Patients and their relatives enjoying the party

Local businesses, including the supportive retreat centre Ananda Spa, were approached for donations. They kindly provided snacks, drinks, stationary and decorations for the office. Some Ananda Spa staff also attended the function to provide support. A few local individuals also gave financial support for the event and in this way all costs for the day were covered. Publicity of the event was a good opportunity to further raise awareness of GPH locally.

 

 

 


On the morning of the party, GPH staff and volunteers decorated the office with a Christmas banner, lights, tinsel and balloons. The setting looked delightful!





  Each patient (or their family member) was welcomed to the venue with chai, juice and snacks as they arrived. Once everyone had arrived, all present enjoyed a delicious meal together complements of the nearby restaurant, Rajasthani Misthan Bhandaar. A local donor provided a lovely cake, and wonderful chocolate ladoos from a visiting supporter completed the meal.
Volunteers serving the food
Volunteers serving the food
 



Children of the Ganga dance for the attendees
Children of the Ganga dance for the attendees

A mixture of Christmas music and Bollywood music added to the party atmosphere and the dancing soon began! Local children were invited to perform including children from a Rishikesh NGO, 'Children of the Ganges' who sang and danced for the party attendees. Several musicians who were visiting Rishikesh also performed including musicians from France and South America.

 




  To everyone's delight Father Christmas himself came to distribute gifts to the attendees. Each family received a book with lovely pictures of the Ganges and some rose petal perfume. Donated boxes of Indian sweets were also distributed to the guests, complements of G. Sweet shop, Dehradun.
Father Christmas at GPH party
Father Christmas at GPH party
 

 

 


The party concluded with a game of Piñata, arranged by a Mexican supporter who taught the group how to play: the players attempt to break open a decorated clay pot whilst blind folded and the winner is rewarded with its contents– sweets and small gifts– which were then shared with the children. The game inspired much laughter.

The party was attended by around 100 guests. A thoughtful 13 year old patient who has a brain tumour brought a small Christmas tree and a card for the GPH team. Although it is now difficult for her to travel, her attendance moved the team immensely; she has such a beautiful smile!

The second Christmas party at GPH was deemed by all to be a great success. Both poignant and joyful memories were shared by many of those present, some of our patients who are no longer with us were lovingly remembered. It was wonderful to see so many of our bereaved families again, and to see current patients enjoy themselves for a few hours with their team of caretakers. It was a beautiful way to end 2016 indeed.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, 26th 27th 28th November, 2016
GPH Second Palliative Care Course

GPH carried out the Indian Association of Palliative Care ‘Essentials of Palliative Care Training’ course for health care professionals in Uttarakhand.

On 26th November 2016, fifty-five health care professionals from around Uttarakhand attended the Ganga Prem Hospice-led Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) training course in palliative care. This was the second such event carried out by the Hospice. Following the success of the previous course in November 2015, this year’s course was attended by a greater number of professionals. The event was hosted by the team from Seema Dental College & Hospital, Rishikesh. Dr Hemanshu Aeran, the Principal Director of the college, is instrumental in his inspiration to both dental teachers and dental interns who, it is recognised, can play a valuable role in palliative care particularly due to the high numbers of cancers of the head and neck found in India. The course was supported by the IAPC and sponsorship came from the Maharatna company Indian Oil Corporation and Dr Rudranath Talukdar, an oncologist from the region.



The chief guests with Dr Aero and Dr Dewan
The chief guests with Dr Aeran and Dr Dewan
The Dean of Aims is honoured at the ceremony
The Dean of AIIMS is honoured at the ceremony

 

 


The inauguration ceremony of the programme saw the Dean of the prestigious AIIMS Hospital in Rishikesh, Dr Surekha Kishore, along with Dr Ajeet Gairola, Consultant at the National Health Mission, Government of Uttarakhand as the guests of honour. Both spoke of their appreciation of the GPH initiative to bring palliative care to the region. Dr Gairola was asked and agreed to support the request made by Dr Dewan, Medical Director of GPH, to ensure the local government builds a suitable road to the hospice new inpatient unit.

For three full days, the GPH team were able to share their knowledge and skills with professionals who were dedicated to improving their understanding and practice of palliative care. Participants included doctors, nurses, and dentists as well as a few non-professional supporters of the hospice who also wished to increase their knowledge of the topic.  Attendees were mainly locally based; Rishikesh and Dehradun.  Dr Ann Thyle, an experienced palliative care consultant practising in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, once again kindly agreed to be the course secretary. 

The course topics covered all domains of palliative care including aspects of oncology taught by the GPH oncologists, Dr Dewan and Sharma and the role of dentistry in palliative care by Dr Aeran. Dr Dewan and Dr Aditi Chaturvedi both gave an introduction to the concept of palliative care. Other topics included a detailed presentation on pain management by Dr Mayank Gupta (Pain Specialist and Anaesthetist from Sri Mahant Hospital, Dehradun) and symptom control lectures by Dr Brenda Ward, Consultant in Palliative Medicine from the UK. Dr Thyle discussed palliative care for HIV patients and for children and Dr Rupali Dewan described the issues faced by the elderly and provided teaching on pressure sores. Dr Dominique Cassidy, Consultant psychiatrist from Switzerland addressed the psychological and spiritual aspects of palliative care as well as the topic of bereavement. Nursing issues were taught by Srs Marie Francois Scharll (Belgium) and Christine Solly (New Zealand) and Mark Miller (USA).


Dr Aeran addresses the participants
Dr Aeran addresses the participants
Dr Dewan speaks at the course
Dr Dewan speaks at the course

 

 


In addition, time was given to discussing the importance of communication skills. The GPH trainers used demonstrations and role plays to demonstrate their teaching. The subject of ethics in palliative care was also covered by Dr Chaturvedi. The discussion included withdrawing life prolonging treatments in patients who are deemed to be dying. This is a controversial subject in India and is currently being addressed in the legal circles. The role of advance care planning (planning for future issues on health care at the end of life) was also addressed.

The team aimed to provide another view of palliative care by inviting the relatives of two patients who had been cared for by the GPH team prior to their passing. Both were glad to share their experiences. They talked about the difficulties they had faced as carers and how the support of the palliative care team, both through the control of symptoms and the emotional support for the patients and themselves had helped them.  Participants reported that hearing from those who had been in the situation added to the impact of the training.

Time was spent by Drs Thyle and Chaturvedi encouraging participants to consider ways they could take forward palliative care in their own place of work. Participants appeared inspired to address the situation. The group suggested they start up a ‘WhatsApp’ group for themselves in order to stay connected and to share information and inspiration. They will return together again early in 2017 to undertake the exam in the Essentials of Palliative Care training. They will also have to write a reflective study on a palliative care patient they have cared for in order to achieve the qualification.


Dr Aditi explains a point
Dr Aditi explains a point
Participants of the course listen to the lectures
Participants of the course listen to the lectures

 

 


Ganga Prem Hospice would like to thank Seema Dental College for their assistance in organising and carrying out the course, their sponsors Indian Oil and oncologist Dr Talukdar for the financial assistance required to support the course as well as the volunteers, both local and international who attended each day to provide assistance for the preparation and administrative tasks needed. Their help and encouragement has been invaluable. The team were delighted to have been able to provide this course through this collaboration and look forward to carrying out further such courses in the future.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, November 27th, 2016
November Clinic

The November 2016 cancer clinic of Ganga Prem Hospice welcomed 86 patients from cities and towns all over Uttarakhand state including Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Roorkee, Meerut, Bijnor, Haridwar and Rishikesh.

The GPH team was split between handling the clinic and hosting a three-day palliative care training course in Rishikesh over the same weekend. Despite the extra demands, the clinic was very adequately staffed with two oncologists, two gynaecologists, a palliative care doctor, two dentists and an ayurvedaacharya. As always, the hospice team was supported by numerous volunteers including two nurses from the USA and Belgium who recorded patients’ vital signs prior to their medical consultation.



Dr Dewan giving consultation to a patient
Dr Dewan giving consultation to a patient
A patient resting at the clinic
A patient resting at the clinic

 

 


Several patients were very ill and rested on the clinic beds after being wheeled into the clinic on wheelchairs. They received gentle oil massages on their hands and feet while waiting for the doctors to attend to them. Eight existing home care patients visited the clinic to see the oncologists and four new patients were added to the home care programme, two from Haridwar and two from Rishikesh. Oncologists Dr. A.K. Dewan and Dr. S.K. Sharma had their hands full as 60% of the patients were found to be suffering from cancer and another 5% were suspected cases.




Jamuna preparing organic tea
Jamuna preparing organic tea

Free medicines and refreshments were distributed at the clinic and frequent cups of hot tea were appreciated in the cool weather. Seventy blankets for the new inpatient facility were donated by a visitor to the clinic while another visitor promised regular help after saying that the service at the clinic had deeply touched his heart.

 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh, 7th November, 2016
Oncologist from Pittsburgh Visits GPH

On 7th Nov. 2016, a CME (Continued Medical Education) was organized by Ganga Prem Hospice at Seema Dental College and Hospital in Rishikesh.



  About 150 people attended the event including students, interns, post graduate students and faculty. Dr. Gauri Keifer, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology and Hematology at the University in Pittsburg, USA, shared her expertise on the subject of head and neck cancers in a one hour lecture followed by a question and answer session. 
Dr Gauri Keifer lectures  in Rishikesh
Dr Gauri Keifer lectures  in Rishikesh
 

 

 


She discussed the treatment plans that are implemented for such cancers at her university hospital, and particularly emphasized the role of dentists in the early diagnosis of oral as well as other head and neck cancers. Dr. Gauri highlighted the need for hospice and palliative care in the case of advanced malignancies. She explained that when a cancer has advanced to a terminal stage, it is very important to stop anticancer medicines at the appropriate time in order to provide a better quality of life for the patient.

Dr Keifer also visited the inpatient facility, met with the GPH team and accompanied them on home care visits during her five day visit to the Hospice. In addition she  met with GPH medical director, Dr AK Dewan, in Delhi to discuss how she and her colleagues in the USA could render more assistance to the Hospice.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh, October 23rd, 2016
October Clinic

On Sunday October 23rd, 56 patients, including seven terminally ill cancer patients, attended the Ganga Prem Hospice monthly clinic in Rishikesh.

The clinic was held one week early, since the last Sunday of the month this year corresponds with the widely celebrated Divali festival. Due to the holiday and change of date, patient attendance was lighter than usual and the waiting time to see the doctor was consequently almost negligible. Dr. Sharma, a senior Radiation Oncologist from Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, traveled from Delhi to lead the medical team. He was supported by GPH palliative care doctor, Aditi Chaturvedi, and Ayurvedacharya Dr. J.P. Rathi, as well as the GPH full time nurses, staff and volunteers.



Dr Sharma studies a later-comer’s reports
Dr Sharma studies a later-comer’s reports
 

 

 

54% of the attending patients were suffering from cancer at various stages. Breast cancer was the most common malignancy, followed by buccal mucosa. In total, there were eleven cases of head and neck cancer, and six patients with oral cancer. GPH added four new patients from the clinic to the regular home care roster. The remaining patients received advice and medication for other maladies such as viral fever, high blood pressure and the common cold.


  Among the three home care patients who attended the clinic was an elderly sannyasi lady who has been with GPH since the early years of the home care service. Her cancerous breast wound had once healed up but is now open again requiring daily dressings from the GPH nurse. She attended the clinic to show the oncologist the numerous blisters which are appearing over her breast and upper chest.
GPH nursing assistant Jamuna with the sannyasini
GPH nursing assistant Jamuna with the sannyasini
 

Dr Aditi with the fruit seller
Dr Aditi with the fruit seller

In addition to medical support, GPH often offers various types of financial support to needy patients and their families. A very poor fruit seller from Rishikesh came to the clinic with abdominal cancerand was seen by both the oncologist and the palliative care doctor. GPH will sponsor the beginning of his radiotherapy and will help him to apply to Hans Foundation to finance his ongoing cancer treatment 

 

 


India, Rishikesh, 11th October 2016
Krishna Das Sings to a Full House in Rishikesh

Over five hundred and fifty people gathered on the Dushhera festival afternoon of October 11th in Rishikesh for the tenth annual Ganga Prem Hospice charity concert.

Kirtan king Krishna Das played for nearly three hours, enchanting the audience with his beloved devotional chants. Although many of the songs were familiar from years past, the power of his music is such that the joy of hearing it only increases with time. KD requests, and in fact relies on, the audience to join him in the repetition of the divine names thereby creating a beautiful atmosphere of collective devotional practice.



A full hall sings along with Krishna Das
A full hall sings along with Krishna Das
Devotees enthralled by Krishna Das
Devotees enthralled by Krishna Das

 

 

Before the musicians took the stage, the short video was shown as an introduction to the activities of Ganga Prem Hospice. Although it was a warm day for October, the large international audience was enthusiastic at this opportunity to see the legendary performer in holy Rishikesh and support the cause of local hospice care.

The concert began with the slower, meditative“Shri Ram Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram” chant, and increased in intensity and tempo as the afternoon progressed, prompting the audience to sing along and dance. KD performed his old favorites and traditional chants like “Hanuman Chalisa” as well as his rousing version of the American gospel classic, “Jesus on the Mainline.”


A patient singing in the kirtan
A patient singing in the kirtan
Krishna Das talks with Reshu
Krishna Das talks with Reshu

 

 


The Hospice patients were invited and many of them who were able came to listen and join in the singing. Two patients from Haridwar, a child and an elderly patient, were picked up and dropped back at home by a GPH vehicle. A thirteen year old patient, Reshu, who came with her mother and uncle, was introduced to KD at the end of the concert, who very lovingly spoke to her and made the child feel special.


Arjun on the tabla
Arjun on the tabla
Krishna Das has his hand autographed by a little fan
Krishna Das has his hand autographed by a little fan

 

 


KD was accompanied by tabla master Arjun Bruggeman, who himself has performed in Rishikesh almost as many times as the chant master himself. In this,his tenth annual concert for Ganga Prem, KD was as gracious as ever, spending a lot of time with his fans and admirers both before and after the performance. He was freely available to those who wanted to meet to him or have a photograph taken with him. He smiled, laughed and answered all their questions.

Outside of the concert hall numerous vendors and GPH volunteers sold gifts and edibles to the concert attendees throughout the afternoon, thereby raising additional funds and increasing awareness of GPH activities. As before Organic India generously provided cups of free tulsi tea at the venue. People were moved to contribute as they could in donation boxes, and several people expressed interest in volunteering in the future.


Stalls manned by volunteers
Stalls manned by volunteers
 

 

 


As always, the entire show was managed entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers from Ganga Prem Hospice. Menakshi Goenka and Anil Gupta spear-headed the planning, while a whole host of other volunteers assisted with publicity, invitations, managing the stalls, guiding the guests, and even cleaning the venue in preparation for the concert. The Ganga Prem Hospice staff worked equally hard, managing the logistics, and providing behind the scenes support for the concert preparation work which began weeks in advance.

In the end, the concert not only helped introduce Ganga Prem Hospice to several hundred people, but also raised a handsome five hundred thousand rupees for the Hospice work. 



 

INDIA, Dehradun, 8th October, 2016
Palliative Care Week: Community Awareness Walk

On Oct. 8th Ganga Prem Hospice organized a one hour walk through Dehradun city as part of its World Hospice and Palliative Care Week initiatives.

In addition to Ganga Prem Hospice staff and volunteers ( including some patients and bereaved family members), the walk was supported by the Rotary Club, Jolly Grant Cancer Research Institute, Sai Soham Samiti, students of Hopetown School, Doon Cambridge School and Hilton School. The enthusiastic participants chanted slogans such as, “Pain relief is our right,” and carried banners such as, “Palliative care is our responsibility,” and “Treat the patient as a whole, not just the hole in the patient.”



A elderly patient on the march
A elderly patient on the march
GPH nurses taking part
GPH nurses taking part

 

 

GPH utilized the occasion to launch its “5 Rupees for Pain Relief Scheme.” The cost of pain relief medication for a hospice patient is a mere five rupees for four to six hours, or about one rupee per hour. At this rate there is no reason why the terminally ill should be denied the basic human right to pain relief. Seeing these statistics, many people from the streets came forward to donate and several expressed their interest in becoming hospice volunteers. The Rotary Club in particular committed to further promotion of the 5 Rupees Scheme through its membership in Dehradun.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh ,Dehradun, 7th, 8th October, 2016
World Palliative Care Week: Three CMEs

As part of GPH World Palliative Care Week initiatives, Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi spoke at three medical institutions in Rishikesh and Dehradun. 

She spoke to about 100 college faculty and hospital staff at AIIMS on Friday 7th October, including both the Hospital Director and College Dean; to an audience of about 150 faculty and students at Shridev Suman Subarti Medical College; and to 50 or 60 professionals at Jolly Grant Cancer Research Institute on Saturday the 8th October. The lectures focused on the humanitarian responsibility of medical professionals to provide greater access to end of life care.






 

 

Dr. Aditi explained that as the rate of chronic illnesses continues to increase, it has become clear that hospital acute care is only a small part of the services required by the health care community. Only 10-15% of deaths occur suddenly, yet a disproportional amount of medical resources are focused on these 10-15%. For the great majority, dying from chronic illness is a process that can span months or years. Even those who can afford care often do not wish to spend their final days in the impersonal environment of an intensive care unit.

Dr. Aditi emphasized that while curing illness has been the primary duty of modern medicine, we must also recognize that dying does matter. She encouraged her audiences not to shy away from talk about death, as this step can help to bring palliative care awareness into the medical mainstream. A terminal diagnosis need not be a failure, but can be another opportunity to fulfill a doctor’s vocation of care.

She also spoke about the call from WHO to improve long-term care models, and she introduced some resources provided by the Indian Association of Palliative Care which can help medical professionals identity the stages of dying, and guide them on how to help both patients and their families through this process.

Dr. Aditi’s inspiring lectures and outreach work continue to complement the wonderful patient care she provides at GPH!



 

INDIA, Dehradun, October 7th, 2016
GPH Hosts Dehradun Patients’ Picnic

Following the success of a similar event in Rishikesh for World Hospice and Palliative Care Week, GPH invited Dehradun patients and their families for an afternoon of sharing, games and singing.



Games in progress at the party
Games in progress at the party
A Dehradun patient tells his story with GPH
A Dehradun patient tells his story with GPH

 

 

The event was hosted on October 7th at the farmstead of Sai Soham Samiti, a home for children with special needs. The children sang devotional songs for everyone and enchanted the audience with their carefree nature and innocent expressions of love. Two GPH patients, Chaman Lal and Dishesh Gussain, also led songs. After the games the program ended with refreshments for all provided by Sai Soham Samiti. Social celebrations such as this picnic provide a valuable break from the stress and worries of day to day life with terminal illness. Sai Soham Samiti has been supporting the work of GPH for several years by hosting clinics and events such as this as well as providing transport for Dehradun patients to come to cancer clinics in Rishikesh.



 

INDIA, Rishikesh, October 5th, 2016
World Hospice Week Gathering in Rishikesh

On October 5th Rishikesh patients and families joined staff and volunteers at the GPH headquarters for an afternoon of sharing in honor of World Hospice Week.

Every year, during the first week of October, hospice outreach activities are hosted across the globe to honor end of life care professionals and raise awareness of hospice activities worldwide. The primary purpose of the Rishikesh event was to facilitate sharing and to support a feeling of community amongst patients, families and GPH care-givers.

The program began with an introduction by Dr. Aditi in which she explained the purpose of the day’s gathering and provided a summary of GPH’s origins and growth. She then invited the patients and family members in attendance to introduce themselves and share their stories of living with terminal illness. In addition to the physical challenges they were enduring, all the patients also brought up the financial burden of their care and treatment. Everyone expressed in emotional language their gratitude to GPH for its contributions to both patient care and material support.



A poor patient’s husband expresses gratitude to GPH
A poor patient’s husband expresses gratitude to GPH
A patient tells how GPH is helping him
A patient tells how GPH is helping him

 

 

The group then joined in the singing of bhajans, followed by snacks and drinks, and ending with a series of games with prizes for the children. A patient who was resting in an adjacent room was drawn in by the laughter and was helped to a chair so that she could enjoy the fun.


  A similar GPH gathering occurred in Dehradun on October 7th, followed by a hospice awareness walk and lecture on October 8th.  
Playing games at the gathering
Playing games at the gathering
 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh and Haridwar, October 2nd and 3rd, 2016
Ananda Spa Therapists at GPH

Two specialists in therapies for patients with cancer led a team of therapists from Ananda Spa on home care visits with the GPH team on 2nd and 3rd October

Julia Bach, Educator Founder ‘Wellness for Cancer’ from Australia and Sharla Charnley, Spa Consultant & Trainer in Massage and Yoga visited Ganga Prem Hospice on the 2nd and 3rd of October with a group of therapists from  Ananda Spa near Rishikesh. The groups joined GPH home care teams on visits in Rishikesh and Haridwar on two consecutive days seeing 10 patients in Rishikesh and 7 patients in Haridwar. The teams included Tirtha Roy Choudhary, the Director of Human resources at Ananda who coordinated the visits with Menakshi Goenka of Ganga Prem Hospice and Gregory Urgin, the Director of Spa Training at Ananda.



Ananda Spa therapists massage a patient
Ananda Spa therapists massage a patient
a relaxing massage for a patient
a relaxing massage for a patient

 

 

The therapists spent from 40 minutes to an hour in each home—speaking to the patients, taking photographs and notes and providing therapeutic massages and healing energies to the patients inclusive of reiki. The patients were relaxed and many of them went to sleep during the treatments. The patients and their families found themselves being thoroughly pampered, being treated with special hydrating oils and creams from Ananda Spa.

The treatments included full body massage and head and foot massages. Treatments for which visitors at luxury spas would pay thousands of rupees were lovingly given to the Hospice patients absolutely free of charge. In most cases the teams left the homes with the patients sleeping peacefully.


A patient receives a head ad foot massage
A patient receives a head ad foot massage
Spa therapists with Reshu
Spa therapists with Reshu

 

 


Most patients wanted the therapists to come again. One patient who had a lot of knee pain was visibly relieved and came to say goodbye at the door. GPH wonder-kid Reshu wished to communicate with all the therapists on WhatsApp, and took a promise from each that they would come and see her again soon.

We thank Ananda Spa for this much appreciated service and especially Mr Roy- Choudary for coordinating these two days so beautifully. We look forward to Ananda Spa’s continued support and hope that the therapists will return to visit our patients and train us in these various techniques which were so beneficial and soothing.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, September 25th, 2016
September Clinic 2016

Eighty-two patients were attended to by six doctors and three nurses at the Ganga Prem Hospice September 25th cancer clinic.

Although the patient count was moderate, the clinic was a busy one as patients with cancer (65%) far outnumbered the non-cancer cases. There were sixteen cases of oral cancer alone. Ten terminally ill patients and three suspected malignancy cases were also among the patients seen.



Drs AK and Rupali Dewan with a patient
Drs AK and Rupali Dewan with a patient
Gynaecologist, Dr Saxena giving consultation
Gynaecologist, Dr Saxena giving consultation

 

 

Senior surgical oncologist Dr AK Dewan and gynaecologist Dr Rupali Dewan attended to a majority of the patients, supported by a local gynaecologist, an Ayurvedacharya, and a dental surgeon from the Seema Dental College & Hospital, Rishikesh. Palliative care doctor, Aditi Chaturvedi took up the mantle of counselling the patients after their oncological consultation


The dentist advises a patient
The dentist advises a patient
Dr Aditi with a terminally ill patient
Dr Aditi with a terminally ill patient

 

 


The widow of a deceased GPH patient brought a sixty-five year old gentleman with oral cancer to the Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinic for the first time. He could not afford treatment so Dr Aditi explained how to apply for financial help. The kind widow explained that she wanted to be a part of the Hospice service and help other patients with cancer and so she keeps a look-out for people suffering from the disease and brings them along to the clinic. This gentleman was the third patient she has brought since her husband passed away a few months ago.

There were others at the clinic who were long-time patients of the Hospice and had come for repeat consultations. These included some elderly patients who were in advanced stages of cancer, four home care patients, as well as a four-year old girl undergoing treatment for leukemia. As Dr Dewan consulted with the father, he lovingly put his hand on the child's shoulders. Even though she listened intently to what as being discussed, it was far beyond the little girl's understanding.


Dr Dewan inspects a child patient’s tongue
Dr Dewan inspects a child patient’s tongue
Volunteers help a patient into a wheelchair
Volunteers help a patient into a wheelchair

 

 


Volunteers played a huge part in running the clinic as always - attending to wheel-chair bound patients, calling patients in to the consultation room, scanning the prescriptions, dispensing medicines, and serving tea and fruit juice. The Rajasthani Mishthan Bhandar continued to open-heartedly provide refreshments for the patients and the Hospice team.

 

 

INDIA, Rishikesh, August 28th, 2016
August Clinic 2016
At the Ganga Prem Hospice August Cancer Clinic oncologists Dr AK Dewan and SK Sharma from the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, Delhi, examined sixty-five patients diagnosed with cancer, with a further two patients presenting with symptoms of the disease.

The two oncologists were supported by a palliative care doctor, a dental surgeon from the Seema Dental College, and an Ayurvedacharya as well as two GPH nurses. Ten patients of the sixty-five were suffering malignancies of tongue cancer, whilst eight patients had breast cancer.  



Dr Aditi discusses a home care patient with Dr Dewan
Dr Aditi discusses a home care patient with Dr Dewan
Dr Sharma looks at a patient’s reports
Dr Sharma looks at a patient’s reports

 

 

With sixteen patients being terminally ill, the Ganga Prem Hospice team had a busy time, the patients and their families being in need of extensive counselling. One female patient arrived in such a critical condition that she had to be taken home by the Ganga Prem Hospice ambulance after the doctors and counsellors had explained gently to the grieving family that she only had a matter of hours left to live. She expired the next day.

Volunteers managed the running of the clinic alongside the Ganga Prem Hospice staff members. The team organised patients’ registration and waiting times, and guided patients to their consulting doctors, scanned prescriptions and dispensed medicines. The counseling of patients and their families and assessment of their needs in order to arrange appropriate support included determining whether patients needed to be given home care.



Sister Mamta removes a patient’s bandage
Sister Mamta removes a patient’s bandage
Mr Aarya dispenses medicines
Mr Aarya dispenses medicines

 

 


Support in kind continued at the clinic, and included provision of fans and canopies for the patient waiting area. Refreshments of fruits, fruit juices, and tea were sponsored by the Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar of Rishikesh. A recently bereaved family brought fruit to be distributed to the patients while another couple, whose daughter had been a GPH patient for the last 5 years, brought a full donation box which they had kept at their house during the days following her death. The couple profusely thanked each member of the team for all that GPH had done to support them as a family as well as providing medical care and nursing for their 27 year old daughter. Their visit was very moving for both staff and volunteers who had become especially close to the family over the final few months.


 

INDIA, Rishikesh, August 28th, 2016
GPH Talk at Seema Dental College
Ganga Prem Hospice Medical Director, Dr AK Dewan, gave a talk at Seema Dental College students in the early morning of Sunday, 28th August.
 


Dr Dewan delivers his lecture
Dr Dewan delivers his lecture
Dental students listen attentively
Dental students listen attentively

 

 


Dr Dewan, who is an oncologist specializing in head and neck cancers delivered the one hour lecture to the dental students on screening for oral cancer. In his talk, entitled ‘Premalignant Lesions of Oral Cancer – Detect Early, Treat Early’, Dr Dewan discussed the role of dentists in oral cancer screening and described various precancerous lesions like erythroplakia, leukoplakia and submucosal fibrosis. The lecture was well attended attracting over 100 under graduate and post graduate students.

 


INDIA, Dehradun, August 12th, 2016
GPH Talk at Neuro-Oncology Conference
Ganga Prem Hospice palliative care doctor, Dr Aditi Chaturvedi, gave a talk at a one day Neuro-Oncology Conference organized by the Radiation Oncology Department of the Cancer Research Institute of the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust. 

The thirty minute lecture entitled 'Recent Updates in Hospice and Palliative Care in Neuro-oncology' was delivered at the Auditorium of Swami Ram Himalayan University on the 12th August.

Dr Aditi speaking to 50 neurologists, oncologists and cancer nurses emphasized the need for hospice and palliative care for brain tumour patients. Whilst there is a need to try for cure, Dr Aditi said, there is also a need to accept death when cure is no longer possible and to turn positively towards end of life care.

Dr Aditi cited the example of a GPH patient, Mr RS suffering from Glioblastoma multiforme and how palliative care had made a huge difference in his life. He had felt abandoned by his doctors and family but the visits from the GPH team had helped to relieve his anxiety, headache, constipation, nausea and vomiting and had also helped him to discuss his fears of death and plans for future care.

Dr Aditi emphasized how important quality of life is and how we must help patients to live well before they die.



 


INDIA, Dehradun, August 5th, 2016
GPH Clinical Team Attends CME
The Ganga Prem Hospice clinical team attended a palliative care CME at the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust in Dehradun on Friday, 5th August, 2016.
 





 

 

A continued medical education programme on palliative care for doctors and nurses was conducted at HIHT on 5th August. Talks were given by two doctors, Dr Cynthia Goh (from Singapore) and Dr David Brumley (from Australia), who were both representatives of Asia Pacific Hospice Network(APHN). Dr Mayank Gupta of Sri Mahant Indresh Medical College, in collaboration with AIIMS, New Delhi and the Govt. of India has led the initiative to start palliative care at two medical colleges in Uttarakhand, the Cancer Research Institute at HIHT and the Doon Medical College.

Dr David Brumley has expressed his interest in visiting Ganga Prem Hospice in Rishikesh.



 


INDIA, Rishikesh, July 31st, 2016
July Clinic 2016
There was a steady flow of people on July 31st, 2016, when a total of seventy-one patients came for consultations at the Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinic in Rishikesh.

A few rain showers marked the day, the second last day of the annual "kaanwad" pilgrimage when the Rishikesh and Haridwar areas are visited by millions of people throwing traffic and movement into chaos in the twin towns. Many patients had to forego their visit to the clinic owing to the impossible traffic conditions, even so there were patients that came from far-away places such as Sahranpur, Roorkee, Tehri Garhwal, as well as more local travellers from Dehradun and Haridwar.



Dr Dewan examines a patient’s mouth
Dr Dewan examines a patient’s mouth
Dr Saxena with a patient
Dr Saxena with a patient
   

 

 

The Ganga Prem Hospice team made it to the clinic arriving both from within Rishikesh and other cities. Oncologists Dr AK Dewan and Dr SK Sharma took a longer train route, travelling via Dehradun. Palliative care doctor Aditi Chaturvedi and the rest of the team also arrived early, as did some new volunteers who were coming to the clinic for the first time.

Visiting Palliative Care doctor Brenda Ward assisted with consultations and appraising patients' palliative care plans. As there were far fewer patients than usual the counsellors were able to give plenty of time to patients, offering support to those suffering depression due to their condition. One patient in particular was counseled for a long time. He expressed his feelings by saying, ‘I can’t understand why you all give me so much love; it’s very hard to bear.” He said he was afraid that he might breakdown into tears but in fact after being able to lighten his heart in that way, he left the clinic full of smiles.


Dr Aditi and Nani Ma counsel a depressed patient
Dr Aditi and Nani Ma counsel a depressed patient
Volunteer pharmacist Mr Arya gives out medicines
Volunteer pharmacist Mr Arya gives out medicines
   

 

 

There were thirty-five patients with cancer while four others were noted as suspected cases needing further investigations. Eight Home Care patients attended the clinic for oncological advice and one new terminally ill patient was added to the home care programme.

Cancers of the breast and the tongue were most common, with six and four patients of the two malignancies respectively. The other cancers found were buccal mucosa, cheek, larynx, lip, neck, oesophagus, vocal chord, thyroid, pyroform fossa, skin, myeloma, melanoma, ovary, prostate, rectum, endometrium, and Ewings Sarcoma.



 


INDIA, Dehradun, July 29th, 2016
GPH Talk at Nursing College
As part of the Ganga Prem Hospice and Seema Dental College project to make known the need for palliative care among the youth of Uttarakhand, an introductory talk was given at the Combined Institute of Medical Science in Dehradun on 29th July.

On Friday afternoon of 29th July, Dr Ranjeeta of Seema Dental College gave a one hour talk on Palliative Care to students of the Combined Institute of Medical Science nursing college in Dehradun. The eighty students who attended included GNM nursing students as well as those studying for their Bsc and Msc in Nursing.



Dr Ranjeeta speaking to the students
Dr Ranjeeta speaking to the students
Dr Aditi and Dr Ranjeeta with the students
Dr Aditi and Dr Ranjeeta with the students
   

 

 

It is hoped that volunteer students from the Institute will join the GPH Home Care team in Dehradun after September of this year.

Students from the Care Nursing College in Haridwar, where a similar programme was conducted in May, have already started to accompany the Hospice Home Care team on patient visits in Haridwar. As there have been so many students interested in volunteering, two students at a time take turns to accompany the team on Wednesdays and Fridays.


 


INDIA, Narendra Nagar, July 17th, 2016
GPH at Ananda Spa Resort
Following an invitation from Ananda Spa resort, the award winning, luxurious resort just outside of Rishikesh, volunteers from GPH visited on 17th July, 2016 to talk to a group of the Spa's complementary therapists about the work of the hospice.



Dr Brenda and Menakshi address the therapists
Dr Brenda and Menakshi address the therapists
Ananda Spa therapists listen to the talk
Ananda Spa therapists listen to the talk
   

 

 

The spa therapists will soon be receiving training from an Australian group who specialise in providing complementary therapy to cancer patients. Once trained, it is hoped that some of the spa therapists may be interested in volunteering to provide therapies such as massage and gentle yoga to patients at home, in the monthly cancer camps or in the new inpatient facility once opened.

Volunteers Menakshi Goenka and Dr Brenda shared a video of the work of GPH with the therapists, spoke of the benefits of volunteering and answered questions by the therapists.

The visit was enjoyed by both the twenty therapists at the meeting and the volunteers. One therapist resolved to start helping GPH immediately and so was invited to attend the July cancer camp to gain an understanding of the work.

It is hoped that a fruitful relationship will develop between Ananda Spa and GPH.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, June 26th, 2016
June Clinic 2016
There were some very needy patients at the Ganga Prem Hospice June 26, 2016, cancer clinic in Rishikesh.

On a humid and hot day one hundred and six patients made it to the clinic, some so sick that they had to be picked up by the Ganga Prem Hospice vehicle from Haridwar and brought to the clinic. Amongst those needing transportation was a twelve year old girl with a brain tumour who was accompanied by her mother. Another patient who was brought to the clinic was suffering from thyroid cancer. Both were receiving treatment from Ganga Prem Hospice Home Care team. Other seriously ill patients arrived in their own vehicles but were brought from the road in wheelchairs as they could not walk. These included our long time patient Monika and a new patient who was fighting for breath and whose condition required emergency treatment which he immediately received from the GPH medical team at the clinic.



-The little girl massages her mother’s head
The little girl massages her mother’s head
Sister Philomena speaks with a distressed patient
Sister Philomena speaks with a distressed patient
   

 

 

Another terminally ill patient was a 35 year old woman with cancer of her para-nasal sinus. She had heard of Ganga Prem Hospice from a neighbour and braved the dense Sunday morning traffic to travel from Jwalapur in Haridwar to the clinic, along with her husband and youngest daughter of six. She was in such discomfort that she couldn't stop crying. The medical team gave her a pain relief medication and the little girl massaged her mother's head to help her. After resting for one hour and being monitored her pain had not yet been relieved so the analgesic was upgraded and soon she felt considerably better. 




  With sixty-four patients suffering from cancer and another four suspected cases, the two oncologists, Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma had their hands full. They were assisted by two senior gynaecologists, Dr Rupali Dewan from Delhi and Dr Rajesh Saxena from Rishikesh. A volunteer Ayurvedacharya and a dental surgeon from the Seema Dental College were also present. 
Dr Rupali jokes with a female patient
Dr Rupali jokes with a female patient
 

 

 


The Ganga Prem Hospice palliative care doctor, Aditi Chaturvedi, counseled patients and was kept busy as there were sixteen patients with advanced stage cancer at the clinic.

The widow of a GPH Home Care patient attended the clinic and shyly asked if it was alright for her to come to the clinics as she said she missed the team so much now that her husband had passed away and wanted to spend time with everyone again. She said she felt the team to be like close family.

As always, volunteers helped with a lot of the work at the clinic. Those who did not assist the medical team directly supported the clinic serving tea and snacks and wheeling patients in and out of the clinic.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh, June 25th, 26th , 2016
Pain and Palliative Care Conference in Dehradun
After a great deal of preparation and organisation, the last weekend of June saw the first pain and palliative care conference in Uttarakhand. This was deemed a historical event, proving that palliative care has now been recognised as an important aspect of health care in the region. 

The event, the 'International Update on Pain Management & Palliative Care Advances' was organised by Dr Mayank Gupta, a pain and palliative care doctor from the Sri Mahant Indresh Hospital in Dehradun, the capital city of the state of Uttarakhand. Dr Mayank shares the same passion for palliative care as the GPH team who were only too willing to support his endeavour to raise the profile of palliative care in the region.






  All were delighted with the support that other well recognised  palliative care doctors from around India provided including Dr Rajgopal, now referred to as ' the grandfather of palliative care in India'. The faculty also included speakers from the United Kingdom. The event was mainly sponsored by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which recognised the importance of the conference. 
GPH team with Dr Rajgopal (centre) and Dr Anne Thyle
GPH team with Dr Rajgopal and Dr Anne Thyle
 



 

 

The event started on Saturday 25th  June with a workshop on opioids, the name given to strong painkillers such as morphine. This was an essential part of the conference. Opioid prescribing has for many years been very difficult due to legal issues and as a result, most doctors in India are now reluctant to prescribe.  Although the laws around prescribing were changed in 2014 to ensure easier prescribing for those suffering from pain, the new rules are poorly understood and so the situation for those cancer patients and others in India remains dire. The aim of the workshop was to answer questions and concerns from the attendees. The GPH clinical team were all in attendance.

The audience was reminded of poignant facts by palliative care physicians Dr Sushma Bhatnagar (Delhi) and Dr Rajgopal (Kerela).  Although India is the third highest producer of opium, the plant from which morphine is produced, most is exported to the West and only a very small percentage of those in India requiring morphine ever receive it. The WHO estimate is that there are approximately 1 million cancer patients in India suffering from moderate to severe pain. Consequently, most dying from cancer will experience uncontrolled pain.  There was also the reminder that the United Nation states that allowing severe pain and suffering is paramount to degrading and inhumane treatment and therefore currently, by not ensuring patients have access to morphine, India can be said to be contravening UN regulations.  The need to train doctors, student doctors and nurses in using morphine was also emphasised.





Dr Aditi receives momento from the Chief Minister
Dr Aditi receives momento from the Chief Minister

Dr Adit Chaturvedi from Ganga Prem Hospice described the realistic situation at present in working in palliative care in the state and the immense need to ease suffering. She reminded all that any of the audience, or their families could develop terminal cancer and need pain relief. Suffering is not restricted to the poor, even those with money can die an agonising death because they are unable to source the required strong pain killers which are usually required to treat cancer pain. 

 



 

 

A talk by Dr Nandini Vallath from the Indo-American  Cancer Association addressed issues relating to the abuse and diversion of morphine. This is a topic many have concerns about. All palliative care prescribers present from the palliative care field both within India and internationally, emphasised from their experiences working with palliative patients that abuse of morphine in these situations is extremely rare. They also agreed it is the physicians' responsibility to prescribe carefully and that control measures for opioids are required as is the situation throughout the world.

The new laws around prescribing were explained by the chief guest for the occasion, Mr SN Dash, undersecretary of the office of Narcotics Control of the Government of India. Also present was Mr Kumar, a representative of the Drug Controller of Uttarakhand. He was handed a petition, signed by many senior doctors of the region, requesting greater availability of opioids in the state by ensuring the new NDPS 2015 amendment act is acted upon.

It is sincerely hoped that this workshop was a step forward in ensuring patients have access to pain relief, a basic human right and that those present will continue to strive for this.

Sunday 26th  June saw the main conference which was extremely well attended by mainly health care professionals. This was a day filled with short talks from a variety of specialists. As well as palliative care, the subject of pain was discussed in more detail.


Dr Dewan speaks at the conference
Dr Dewan speaks at the conference
GPH volunteer Sister Dana at the conference
GPH volunteer Sister Dana at the conference
   

 

 

The faculty was well represented by the GPH team:

DR AK Dewan discussed the role of surgery in palliative care patients, emphasising the need to only carry out surgery if it ensures better quality of life,

Dr Aditi Chaturvedi taught on palliative care emergencies,

Dr Brenda Ward from England discussed how a good death could be achieved at home, emphasising the role of the hospice, the need to work as a team and how to recognise the dying process,

Dr Abir Doger, a pain anaesthetist also from England and who also works in palliative care taught on his speciality, the use of interventions in pain relief in cancer,

SIster Dana Pieretti, a hospice nurse from the USA described her role as a palliative care nurse.

The event coincided with the GPH monthly cancer camp therefore Drs Dewan and Aditi were required to be at the camp in Rishikesh in the morning and speak at this conference in the afternoon, a good achievement and a busy weekend for them both!

Further presentations included teaching on the role of palliative care in non cancer conditions including dementia ( Dr Rajgopal),  HIV and heart failure ( Dr Anne Thyle) and the importance of palliative care from an oncologist perspective ( Dr Saini from the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust). Also addressed were the many ethical issues arising in palliative care, the need for palliative care in the Intensive Care Unit and the introduction of palliative care into the non government sector.

A description of the National Palliative Care Program was given by Dr Rajgopal. Legal aspects were again addressed.

Alongside the eminent speakers, also present for some of the day was the state Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Mr Harish Rawatji. In his inaugural speech, he too reinforced to all the need to ensure palliative care for patients with terminal illnesses. The faculty all received momentos from him for their endeavours.





  The event finished with a banquet arranged by the IMA. All those attending the conference were treated to an evening of good food, music and entertainment. Everyone agreed the conference was a success and enjoyed the evening celebrations! Developing stronger links between the GPH team with eminent palliative care physicians from around India was another boon.
GPH team at the banquet
GPH team at the banquet
 



 

 

It is hoped that this event has changed people's opinions, increased their awareness of the need for pain control and palliative care, ease concerns about morphine prescribing and inspired some to work in the field and to take forward the endeavours of the small team of GPH and others who are passionate about palliative care. Time will tell! 
 


INDIA, Dehradun, June 9th, 2016
GPH Finds Home for Destitute Patient
The Ganga Prem Hospice was requested by Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust to find a home for a destitute patient who had been operated on at their hospital.



Leena in the GPH ambulance
Leena in the GPH ambulance
Sister Priyanka introduces Leena at Prem Dham
Sister Priyanka introduces Leena at Prem Dham
   

 

 

Leena Kumari is a 50 year old destitute lady with advanced ovarian cancer. She had undergone surgery at the HIHT cancer research institute but had nowhere to go after recovering from the operation. The GPH palliative care team were asked by the hospital authorities to find a place of stay for her after discharge. As the GPH inpatient facility is not yet ready the team searched for an alternative refuge for her. Finally she was accepted at the Prem Dham old age home in Dehradun where she was taken by the GPH team on 9th June.
 


INDIA, Chakrata, June 4th and 5th, 2016
GPH at Health Camp in Chakrata
Ganga Prem Hospice palliative care doctor and nurses assisted Rajiv  Gandhi Cancer Institute doctors at a health camp in Jaunsar, Chakrata, Uttarakhand on the first weekend of June. 





   

 

 

The camp was organized by Jaunsar Bawar Tribal Welfare Society  and a team of doctors from RGCI in Delhi were assisted by the GPH palliative care team in screening 115 of the patients for cancer at the camp which was held at Jaunsar, Chakrata in the Himalayan foothills. The camp is an annual affair and was attended by approximately 1200 patients from the nearby villages. Most of the patients had general ailments or eye problems however forty pap smears were taken at the camp and three other suspected cancer cases were identified. Three patients suffering from cancer received consultations and notes were taken by the GPH team who will follow up on the patients with cancer and those who were suspected of having the disease.



 


INDIA, Rishikesh, May 29th, 2016
May Clinic 2016
There were nine doctors with eight different specialties offering their services to patients at the May 29, 2016, charitable Cancer Clinic of Ganga Prem Hospice.

A hundred and one patients were seen were seen at clinic, those with cancer and suspected cancer being in the majority (forty-eight malignancies and seven suspected cases) comprising fifty-four percent of the total number of patients seen. That Rishikesh has been experiencing squalls and thunderstorms, with one taking place just the previous night resulting in fallen trees and snapped electricity lines, did not seem to be a deterrent to patients who managed to arrive at the clinic even from some far-away places.



  Radiation oncologist Dr SK Sharma led the oncological consultations and along with Otorhinolaryngologist Dr Jai Gopal Sharma, saw the majority of patients. They were assisted by gynaecologist Dr Rajesh Saxena, Ayurvedacharya Dr JP Rathi, two dental surgeons from the Seema Dental College, Dr Aditi Chaturvedi palliative care, visiting volunteer surgeon Dr Daniel Serrano Pena and Dr Harish Chaturvedi who led a meditation session. 
Dr JG Sharma speaks to a patient’s carer
Dr JG Sharma speaks to a patient’s carer
 



 

 

Ten Home Care patients were among those who came for consultations. A patient with cancer of the stomach had been brought by her family all the way from TehriGarhwal, in the mountains. One of the first patients to arrive at the clinic, she was in considerable pain but felt better with an intravenous drip and medicine.  She was conversing normally by the end of the clinic. The doctors spent a lot of time with the woman, giving her ample attention.

   
A patient is given an IV drip
A patient is given an IV drip
Dr SK Sharma with the elderly patient
Dr SK Sharma with the elderly patient
   

 

 

Another Home Care patient who is elderly and very frail, was brought to the clinic by her family. Ganga Prem Hospice Home Care Team leader, Dr Aditi Chaturvedi discussed her case with oncologist Dr SK Sharma.  As is his way, putting his patient at ease straight away, Dr Sharma held the woman's hand and repeatedly reassured her.

The mother of a very young patient who had been seen by the Hospice at the previous month's clinic in Haridwar and whose MRI scan was sponsored by Ganga Prem Hospice, came to the clinic for further advice about whether her child's brain tumour could be treated. Ganga Prem Hospice has reassured the mother, who is a financially underprivileged widow, that they will help with the treatment advised by the oncologist for the little girl.

Patients who needed dental and oral care advice were referred to the two senior dental surgeons from the Seema Dental College. The two doctors, as well as members of the Hospice team took some time to participate in a meditation session, which was coordinated by Dr Harish Chaturvedi.

The entire team of Ganga Prem Hospice stayed involved in the clinic and with the patients throughout the clinic hours. A destitute man came to the clinic asking for medicine for nausea and fainting. He was a pilgrim who had arrived in Rishikesh from Punjab. Ayurvedacharya Dr Rathi attended to him. When the patient informed that he had not eaten for two days, the Hospice team gave him fruits and drinks. He sat in courtyard eating apples. Some clothes from the office stock were selected for him as he appeared in a bedraggled state. After a little while, he seemed to have calmed down from his state of nervous excitement.

   
Dr Rathi with the destitute patient
Dr Rathi with the destitute patient
Sister Priyanka with a patient’s daughter
Sister Priyanka with a patient’s daughter
   

 

 

Volunteers handled the clinic operations ably. Apart from health care professionals who joined the clinic, construction site supervision volunteer MridulDewan also attended the clinic and assisted with calling in of patients.

Patients were given refreshments of hot tea, and the Ganga Prem Hospice team also distributed the snacks and fruit juice provided by our patron and neighbour the Rajasthani Mishthan Bhandar. The Hindustan Offset Press of Haridwar assisted with the clinic publicity by printing cancer awareness pamphlets free of charge.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh, May 24th, 2016
New Home Care Vehicle Donated to GPH
Mrs Sarada Chiruvolu of New Jersey, USA, has donated a new air-conditioned vehicle for Ganga Prem Hospice home care programme.



GPH drivers with the new jeep
GPH drivers with the new jeep

In grueling heat of 45C it is no joke to be travelling all day in a small van with only a six inch fan attached to the front dash board but that is what one of the Ganga Prem Hospice home care teams was doing for six days a week until  the 24th May 2016. Mrs Sarada Chiruvolu of Princeton, New Jersey, was approached for help and without any hesitation she has arranged for a new air conditioned jeep for the team. The TUV  seven seater jeep arrived at the Hospice office and was given the traditional worship before making its first home care trip.

 
 


INDIA, Haridwar, May 20th, 2016
GPH at Care Nursing College
Dr Jyotsna Seth of Seema Dental College gave a palliative care sensitization talk at the Care Nursing College in Haridwar on Friday 20th May.






  Members of Ganga Prem Hospice medical team gave Dr Jyotsna Seth support as she delivered the first Palliative Care Sensitisation Talk under the MOU between GPH and Seema Dental College. The talk was given to 135 student nurses at the Care Nursing College in Haridwar. The talk was much appreciated and 122 students expressed their interest in joining the palliative care drive in Uttarakhand. Dr Ranjeet of Seema Dental College and Dr Daniel and Sister Philomena from GPH also spoke on their experiences in palliative care.
GPH team with Seema College dentists
Dr Jyotsna calls for volunteers
 



 

 

The Care Nursing College is considering entering into an MOU with GPH by which student nurses can avail of GPH palliative care training and in turn help out with GPH home care and palliative care sensitization programmes.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh, May 13th, 2016
 
GPH and Seema Dental College Collaboration
GPH medical team met with dentists at Seema Dental College to further the collaboration which was determined by the MOU signing on January 30th of this year.



  On 13th May, Ganga Prem Hospice palliative care doctor, Aditi Chaturvedi met with dentists from the Seema Dental College in Rishikesh to discuss plans for reaching out to the youth of Uttarakhand to join the palliative care drive in the State. The team of dentists will give sensitization talks and show GPH presentations in colleges. The first  lecture will be at the Care Nursing College in Haridwar on 20th May.
GPH team with Seema College dentists
GPH team with Seema College dentists
 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh, April  24th, 2016
 
April Clinic 2016
A very busy clinic in Haridwar was followed the next day by an even-paced one in Rishikesh on the 24th of April, 2016.

Patients from the Haridwar, Roorkee and Saharanpur areas attended the Haridwar clinic on the 23rd April resulting in fewer patients than usual coming for consultations to Rishikesh on Sunday 24th April. What was significant was that there were thirteen terminally ill patients among the thirty-six cancer patients who came to the clinic. With a further three patients being suspected cancer cases, the counsellor was busy working throughout the clinic making assessments of which patient needed which kind of care and follow-up. By the end of the clinic, sixteen patients and their carers had been spoken to in detail following their oncological consultations. Of these sixteen patients, five new patients will receive follow-up visits from our home care team.


   
Dr Dewan and Dr Sharma give consultations
Dr Dewan and Dr Sharma give consultations
Dr Aditi counsels a patient with bad cancer wounds
Dr Aditi counsels a patient with bad cancer wounds
   

 

 

Two patients, one with cancer of the head & neck and the other with breast cancer had horrendous wounds and needed specific wound management care. The most common cancer categories which were seen at clinic were thoracic cancer, followed by head & neck, and oral cancers.  Breast cancer was the single most prevalent cancer seen followed by that of the tongue.

Despite the busy clinic on the previous day oncologists Dr AK Dewan and Dr SK Sharma were once again ready to work from early morning on Sunday. The clinic was preceded by a talk on Palliative Care for the Hospice team. The Seema Dental College & Hospital doctors volunteered for the fourth clinic in a row. Their Director Principal, Dr Himanshu Aeran, also visited the clinic.

Guided meditation was offered during the clinic hours and was attended by patients, care-givers, volunteers and staff as and when they could take time out from the other clinic proceedings. The thirty minute sessions included explanations on how pranayam and meditation could help one to keep healthy both physically and emotionally.

   
Dr Saxena with a patient
Dr Saxena with a patient
Pharmacist Mr Arya puts medicines in a patient’s bag
Pharmacist Mr Arya puts medicines in a patient’s bag
   

 

 

Volunteer gynaecologist Dr Rajesh Sakshena was welcomed back to the clinic by the GPH team after a long absence due to a serious illness. The team also said goodbye to Sara Padrino Ojea from Madrid University who has been doing her nursing internship with GPH for the last three months. Everyone at the Hospice much appreciated Sara’s dedication and compassion. Sara says that her time with GPH has been the happiest of her life and that she has learnt more than she ever could have at home.

 


INDIA, Haridwar, April 23rd, 2016
 
Patients in Desperate Need of Cancer Care
"It is a very depressing day today." commented oncologist Dr AK Dewan as he saw patients at the Ganga Prem Hospice-Rotary Club of Ranipur Cancer Clinic in Haridwar on the 23rd of April, 2016. 

This year’s April clinic saw an unusually large number of patients whose cancer had gone untreated as, due to lack of money, they had never sought treatment. Some patients had not even had a biopsy. Both oncologists, Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma, were shocked at the lack of access to appropriate medical care for cancer patients and the consequent medically neglected condition of many who had been stricken by the disease in the area of Haridwar, a situation made evident when they saw a total of fifty-one malignancies among the one hundred and two patients seeking help.


   
Dr Sharma gives consultation to a patient
Dr Sharma gives consultation to a patient
Dr Dewan with a patient
Dr Dewan with a patient
   

 

 

The day started early for all members of Ganga Prem Hospice and Rotary Club teams. The oncologists began their day at 4 am rising early to catch the morning train from Delhi to Haridwar, while other Hospice team members  from Rishikesh and Haridwar were themselves up early so as to reach the Kankhal-based venue at least an hour ahead of the clinic time.  The oncologists started seeing patients as soon as they reached the Maxwell Janjeevan Hospital venue. The very first patients seen by both doctors in their respective consultation rooms were in the advanced stages of the disease. For two patients, an ultrasound and X-ray were performed at the venue so that they doctors could see the reports and give advice on further courses of action. Ganga Prem Hospice sponsored these investigations.


     
  Of the 102 patients registered, eighteen were from rural areas not just from within and around Haridwar, patients also came from other towns of Western Uttar Pradesh such as Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Roorkee, and Sahranpur. One patient was so ill that he was seen by Dr Dewan and Dr Aditi in the ambulance that had brought him to the venue.
Dr Aditi examines a patient in an ambulance
Dr Aditi examines a patient in an ambulance
 



 

 

The needy and under-privileged patients' conditions were discussed between the oncologists and the rest of the team, consulting the counsellors and other Ganga Prem Hospice and Rotary Club team members.  For a paediatric patient with meduloblastoma whose left limbs were paralysed, the possibility of getting the child further radiation therapy treatment was considered should the child's initial MRI imaging test be favourable. 

The sponsoring of investigations and treatment for a number of financially underprivileged patients was discussed at length. The Rotary Club agreed to sponsor these patients for their preliminary diagnostic tests and their travel expenses and promised to consider further sponsorship for their treatment. The counsellor identified patients’ primary needs to determine appropriate care and actions - medical treatment, investigations, palliative care and home visits.


   
Sister Mamta dispenses medicines
Sister Mamta dispenses medicines
Members of the Rotary club and GPH team after the clinic
Members of the Rotary club and GPH team
   

 

 

The clinic was a coordinated effort by three different groups working in collaboration. The venue was donated by the Maxwell Janjeevan Hospital, who allowed the Hospice to use their premises for a third time. The clinic publicity and other arrangements were made by the Rotary Club of Ranipur, while Ganga Prem Hospice provided the medical care.






INDIA, Dehradun, April 10th, 2016
Day of Satsang for Dehradun Patients
Ganga Prem Hospice supporters, the Sai Soham Kalyan Samiti from Dehradun, arranged a special day of satsang and recreation for the Hospice patients in Dehradun on 10th April. 

Following a musical concert in Rishikesh on the evening of 9th of April, GPH patients had another invitation on the 10th of April in Dehradun. The Sai Soham Kalyan Samiti arranged a day of satsang and kirtan at their temple in Dehradun. Patients were transported to and from their homes by the Samiti members and GPH vehicles. The event started at 10.30 a.m. and continued until mid-afternoon. Kirtan and satsang were punctuated by a delicious lunch, and refreshments were served throughout the day. Indoor games were taught to the patients and Monika, a GPH patient, played on her guitar and sang for the group. GPH staff and volunteers came from Rishikesh to support the event which was coordinated by Sister Priyanka from GPH. The Samiti members presented all the patients with gifts, fruit and nutritional supplements.

GPH patients were asked to speak about how the Hospice was helping them. It was very touching and rewarding for the GPH team to hear the wonderful feedback from the patients about how much the team’s visits and care meant to each and every one of them.

 
   
GPH staff and patients at the event
GPH staff and patients at the event
GPH staff at the sensitisation programme
GPH staff at the sensitisation programme
   



 

 

On the same day, Sri Mahant Indresh Medical College organized a palliative care volunteers’ sensitization program for three hours at which Dr. Aditi was one of the main speakers.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh, April 9th, 2016
Musical Concert in Rishikesh
The third month of the year 2016 once again saw more than 100 patients turning up for the free monthly Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinic in Rishikesh.

‘Aumbience’ presented  classical Indian music at a charity concert in Rishikesh on the 9th April. The concert organized by GPH volunteers was attended by Hospice patients from Rishikesh and Haridwar.

Read More

 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh, March 27th, 2016
March Clinic 2016
The third month of the year 2016 once again saw more than 100 patients turning up for the free monthly Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinic in Rishikesh.

With a majority (54%) of them being cancer or suspected cancer patients, the team had their hands full examining and giving consultations to patients, counseling both patients and their families, dressing wounds, and dispensing medicines.

 
   
The oncologists see patients
The oncologists see patients
Dr Aditi listens to a patient
Dr Aditi listens to a patient
   



 

 

The clinic served patients from a hundred kilometre radius; forty-one of the 108 patients came from towns outside of Rishikesh.

Six GPH home care patients attended the clinic, including one very ill patient with advanced cancer of the buccal mucosa who traveled with his father and uncle from Haridwar on a public bus. Getting caught in a traffic jam on the way, the exhausted patient only managed to arrive by the end of the clinic, but was immediately attended to. 

The clinic was led by senior surgical oncologist Dr. A.K. Dewan and radiation oncologist, Dr. S.K. Sharma. Two dental surgeons from the Seema Dental College, and an ayurvedacharya also saw patients. Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi, the Ganga Prem Hospice palliative care doctor, counseled the existing home care patients, as well as those who may need home care assistance in the future, and those with suspected cancer who were in need of further investigations. Arrangements were made to transport and sponsor six financially challenged patients to the Dehradun cancer hospital for diagnostic tests or palliative treatment.


   
An oral cancer patient with a volunteer dentist
An oral cancer patient with a volunteer dentist
GPH pharmacist with a patient
GPH pharmacist with a patient
   

 

 

Medicines were distributed free of charge, including an expensive anti-cancer medicine that was given out to two underprivileged patients.

The oncologists consulted patients for a variety of cancers including: oral, head and neck, thoracic, gastro-intestinal, genito-urinary malignancies and leukemias. In all, there were fifty-five patients with cancer, with twelve of them being terminally ill. Another four were suspected of having cancer.



     
  The oncologists not only gave consultations but also advised, encouraged and counselled patients. A patient who had had some bad bleeding for several days, and needed facial surgery to reconstruct her nose and remove her eye, was extremely nervous. The consulting oncologist first advised her to calm down as her anxiety could have been making her condition worse. The patient’s bleeding was quickly controlled and her anxiety allayed with the help of extensive counselling by the palliative care doctor and spiritual advisor.
Nani Ma consoles the patient
Nani Ma consoles the patient
 



 

 

An elderly ovarian cancer patient required an x-ray. Since she was very frail and her son only had a motorbike to take her to the diagnostic lab and back, the Hospice vehicle offered to take them, enabling them to get the test done quickly and with minimal discomfort to the patient.

Volunteers continued to assist the clinic management in a big way. Donations were received from patients and visitors. Tea and fruits for patients, and snacks for the Hospice team from the Rajasthani Mishthan Bhandar and other supporters were very welcome as always.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, March 19th, 2016
Playing Holi at GPH
The Ganga Prem Hospice family met together to play Holi at the clinic premises on the afternoon of Friday the 19th of March. Patients, GPH staff, volunteers and supporters all had a wonderful time.

Inspired by the success of earlier get-togethers, the Ganga Prem Hospice team decided to celebrate the popular Holi festival for the first time. Patients, volunteers and supporters were all invited to join and there was an unexpectedly large turnout.

 
   
Brahmacharis sing bhajans at the event
Brahmacharis sing bhajans at the event
Women and children dance to the music
Women and children dance to the music
   



 

 

Four brahmacharis from a local ashram generously came and sang devotional songs around the theme of the Holi celebrations of Radha and Krishna. The singers were accompanied by harmonium and tabla. They interspersed the bhajans with kirtan, some of which was lively enough to inspire participants to get up and dance!

Refreshments donated by volunteers and supporters were served throughout the event and included sweets and savouries and fruits and fruit juices. The wife of one regular volunteer had made a delicious savoury yoghurt snack while a recently widowed lady bravely cooked and brought traditional Holi sweets for everyone.

Coloured powder was arranged beautifully on little paper plates and at the beginning of the festival everyone received a brightly coloured tilak on their foreheads but true to the Holi celebrations, soon many of the children and younger revelers were playing joyfully and became covered in the pink, yellow and blue powder.


   
Green Hospice!
Green Hospice!
GPH family enjoy Holi
GPH family enjoy Holi
   



 

 

It was really lovely to see the happy laughing faces of so many of the patients and their families, and to witness the deep bonds of uninhibited love between them and the Hospice team.
 


INDIA, India, March 11th, 2016
Yoga Classes for the GPH Team
 A one hour yoga class was conducted by volunteer Nicholas Niamiah for the GPH team on Friday 11th March. It is hoped that the yoga classes which were much enjoyed by all will become a regular feature at the Hospice.

 
   


   

 


INDIA, Rishikesh, March 1st, 2016
Time to Relax at Ganga Prem Hospice
 ‘Time to Relax’ is the name given to the patient and family ‘get-together’ which occurred on 1st March 2016. Patients and their families, including bereaved relatives, were invited by the GPH team to the hospice office in Rishikesh.

The team wanted to give those attending the opportunity to relax together thereby providing the opportunity to take time out from their busy and often stressful lives. Aside from the Christmas party this year, this was the first such event to be held.

 
   
Dr Brenda holds a patient’s grandson
Dr Brenda holds a patient’s grandson
Volunteer Anju serves tea
Volunteer Anju serves tea
   



 

 

A variety of both patients and family members attended the event which continued for 2.5 hours. International volunteers who were skilled in a variety of complementary therapy techniques were invited and several attendees enjoyed a massage. Also present was the wife of a patient who had passed away last year. She is a beautician and had previously offered her services for other patients. She gave several ladies to a facial treatment.
   
Beautician gives a facial at the event
Beautician gives a facial at the event
Attendees listen to a music performance
Attendees listen to a music performance
   



 

 

A local well-reputed classical music group from the Pankaj Music School were requested to perform at the event. The owner of the school had previously had one of his own relatives cared for by the GPH team and willingly accepted the invitation. The people who had come for the afternoon were treated to some exceptional music. Pankaj Suhash played the sitar and his student, Tilak Viswas the flute. Mr Viswas also described the music therapy for cancer patients which he carries out in a local hospital;. The team are very grateful for their contribution which will hopefully continue in the future.

The music continued with a daughter-in-law of a previous patient singing two solos.


   
Beautician gives a facial at the event
Playing ludo
Attendees listen to a music performance
Group photo at the event
   



 

 

The group continued their relaxing afternoon with snacks and some played the popular board game Ludo. The small costs of the event were covered by local supporters.

The event finished with a group photo and the plan to repeat such an event again in the following months.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, February 28th, 2016
February Clinic 2016
The February 2016 Cancer Clinic of Ganga Prem Hospice in Rishikesh surpassed, in patient numbers, attendance at the previous month's clinic.

With one hundred and twenty-four patients to see, surgical and radiation oncologists, Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma, had their hands full. Supported by a medical team of two palliative care specialists and two dental surgeons, four nurses and numerous volunteers, the clinic ran smoothly. Massage and physiotherapy sessions were given to patients by volunteer therapists. Fruits and teas were offered to everyone at the clinic.

 
   
Mr Mehra and Divyae at the registration
Mr Mehra and Divyae at the registration
Dr Sharma examines a patient
 Dr Sharma examines a patient
   



 

 

It is heartening to see the continual growth in support of the clinic endeavour. Every month sees new volunteers and an increasing array of help and offers of assistance come to the Hospice team. Members of a non-profit organisation in Dehradun have started a pick-up and drop-back service to Dehradun patients, so that they can travel easily to the Ganga Prem Hospice clinic from the capital of Uttarakhand, which is forty-five kilometres away. Two patients from Rishikesh have offered their services as volunteers to help in their individual capacity. From abroad came a representative from Yoga Vidya, Germany, an organisation that supports Ganga Prem, visited the clinic as did another long term supporter from the UK who was visiting for the first time. The chief architect of the Ganga Prem Hospice construction project, Prof Yatin Pandya, also visited and observed the clinic work. 
   
Volunteers Nicholas and Saumya at the clinic
Volunteers Nicholas and Saumya at the clinic
Volunteer Anju and intern Sara with a patient
Volunteer Anju and intern Sara with a patient
   



 

 

This month of the fifty-five cancer cases seen, cancer of the buccal mucosa was the most common, with seven patients suffering with this condition. Malignancies of the breast and the tongue were the other predominant cancers seen. Of the ten terminally ill patients attending the clinic, a number were already being attended by GPH Home Care, while others were new to our services. The Home Care patients' cases were discussed in detail by the oncologists and the Home Care teams.
   
Dr Dewan discusses with home care team
Dr Dewan discusses with home care team
Nani Ma does a spiritual distress assessment
Nani Ma does a spiritual distress assessment
   
 


INDIA, Pune, February 12-14th, 2016
GPH at International Palliative Care Conference
Medical staff from Ganga Prem Hospice, Doctors Aditi Chaturvedi, Dominique Cassidy and Brenda Ward attended the 23rd International Association of Palliative Care conference in Pune, 12-14th February 2016.

 

     
  This is third year that the team have had the opportunity to display the work of the hospice to an international audience. This year a talk was given on the use of ‘WhatsApp’, a smartphone application. Use of a ‘WhatsApp Ganga Prem Hospice Group’ allows the team to easily communicate with volunteers and other supporters of GPH. The group is used to share information on hospice activities, request social assistance for patients in need and to discuss palliative care issues in general. 
Dr Aditi speaks at the conference
 



 

 

They also discussed their second recently formed WhatsApp group ‘Family of GPH’ which is used by staff, volunteers and patients and families who are able to communicate in English. This group allows volunteers who have returned to their own countries to stay in touch with each other as well as communicating with those they have been caring for. Medical issues are not discussed within this group; it is mainly filled with jokes and inspiring comments. It allows the meeting of friends on a personal level.

As well as giving a talk in one of the small group presentations, the team was also selected to display two posters in the ‘Poster Display’ section of the conference. One demonstrated how the palliative care team sometimes becomes involved with patients very early in their cancer diagnosis. Those patients who are seen in the monthly cancer camp who need assistance e.g. financially for investigations and treatments or because they need assistance to ensure they attend hospital, an intimidating experience for many, are supported by the hospice team, even before they have a terminal diagnosis. The advantages of becoming involved early in the disease process was shared. This action is in line with recent studies which show that early intervention of palliative care is of benefit.


     
Dr Aditi explains a GPH poster
Dr Aditi explains a GPH poster

The second poster demonstrated the effects of training potential local volunteers. Approximately 17% of those who express interest in volunteering for the hospice actually have become active volunteers. Whilst this may seem a low result, it is in line with other such services. Volunteer training has been intensive for the small number of staff at GPH.  The appropriate number of hours training to ensure maximum recruitment of appropriate volunteers has yet to be established by the team.

 



 

 

The doctors enjoyed attending the conference very much. It was a delight to meet friends from both within India and from overseas and to meet new colleagues. They also met formally with professionals working in the northern states of India to discuss how they could support and take forward palliative care in the north which currently is much less developed than in the south. There was plenty of sharing of ideas and the team returned with much enthusiasm to take them forward.


 

INDIA, Rishikesh, February 8th, 2016
GPH Day of Introspection
The Ganga Prem Hospice Rishikesh team spent a special day together for spiritual exploration and introspection.

On the morning of 8th February 2016, the GPH team met for a different type of morning. The work that we do in palliative care is filled with spiritual purpose: to help, care and support patients. This work is not easy and every day we need to renew our strength to continue to serve others in the best way possible. As a large part of our strength comes from our values, the clearer they are, the easier we can align with them and allow them to support us in our work. Spending some time exploring our own values is an essential aspect of self-care as it improves the quality of our work and reduces the risk of burn out.

The GPH team was fortunate to be welcomed at Aranya Kutir, a very beautiful and peaceful ashram in Tapovan, led by Atmaji. Atmaji has already offered her ashram space for both patients and their families in times of need and now to the team of GPH for events such as these.

Atmaji started by giving a very inspiring talk about the nature of spiritual values and about how they are expressed in our work.

We engaged in some meditation and light yoga practice on the secluded rooftop overlooking the Himalaya, allowing ourselves to come back to a place of rest and peace within ourselves. From that place of quietness, we then started to question ourselves, individually and then together, about essential questions including “What is meaningful in my life and in my work? What is the essence of what I do? What do I love in Life?”

 

     
  After that, each member of the team wrote on a white board the word which expressed for each of us our deepest value; each word that was written resonated with meaning. The words were Gratitude, Smile, Joy, Equality, Silence,
Compassion, Satisfaction, Connection, Love, Helping, Caring, Spirituality, Humanity, Service, Reassurance, Seva, Being, and Peace. We were all inspired by each other: team work at its best!
Monika and Melani perform at the concert

 



 

 

Finally we all received a small stone, in which we placed our intention, as a way to remember it during challenging moments. Our time in the ashram ended with a moment of silence, filled with those deep words...

...before all going back to the business of our day to day work.

The beauty of a team meeting in shared inspiration...


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, February 6th , 2016
Ganga Prem Hospice Annual Walk
Around fifty people took part in the second annual Ganga Prem Hospice walk in Rishikesh on Saturday 6th February 2016. Following the success of the previous year’s walk, the event was repeated to raise local awareness of the Hospice within the town.  

 
     
Walkers gather outside the Madras café
Walkers gather outside the Madras café

A mixture of local and international supporters, staff, volunteers and those who had seen the event advertised gathered in the morning at Madras Café in Rishikesh. They were also joined by a group of dental students from Seema Dental College. This local dental college is now striving to support GPH in a variety of ways, a wonderful example of local partnership.

 



 

 

The walkers set off together to enjoy a long walk through the town and surrounding environs. Carrying a banner, they used the walk to publicise the event, chatting to local people and pilgrims about the hospice en route.  Donations were collected from both those walking and from the local shop owners met throughout the walk.  The walkers were rewarded with impressive views of the Ganges and Rishikesh. The joys of walking in the foothills of the Himalaya cannot be overstated!


     
  Many of the walkers who chose to take part in the walk were inspiring. Examples include a lady who is nearly eighty who managed the steep hill and a man who experiences a lot of pain with walking who, in spite of pain, still chose to complete the whole circuit. A supporter from Ambala, over three hours drive from Rishikesh also attended to participate and spoke to local people tirelessly about the role of palliative care.
A reassuring hand for the oldest walker
A reassuring hand for the oldest walker
 



 

 

The walk lasted approximately 3 hours. It was a lovely spring day, spirits were high and the occasion was enjoyed by all. The event raised Rs. 8261. Many of those participating resolved to walk again next springtime for such a commendable cause!
   
GPH walkers crossing  the Ganga
GPH walkers crossing the Ganga
GPH walkers enjoy the forest
GPH walkers enjoy the forest
   
 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh, February 3rd and 10th, 2016
Complementary Therapy Education at GPH
The month of February saw the hospice team extend their knowledge of complementary therapies by inviting both a local and an international supporter of the hospice to share their skills with the team during their weekly team meetings.

 
     
Dr Jayachandran Thampi
Dr Jayachandran Thampi

On 3rd February, Dr Jayachandran Thampi, a specialist in naturopathic medicine, shared his knowledge of naturopathy in a straightforward, entertaining manner. Many of the tips he shared with the team will be useful not only for patient care but to the professionals themselves to ensure healthy living. Naturopathy places an emphasis on eating the correct diet and the role of fasting was explained. 

 



 

 

Dr Jaya has since followed up his talk by forwarding plenty of reading material to the team including how naturopathy can be incorporated into symptom control for palliative care patients. He has also very kindly offered free consultations for patients who would prefer to use naturopathy as part of their treatment schedule.



 

 

Some of the team have since successfully used this simple but effective technique at home with patients. Nicolas is currently producing a short guide on massage that the team can use to equip themselves in a skill which has great benefit for both patients and their family carers. The importance on providing opportunities to help people relax during the ongoing stresses of a terminal illness cannot be underestimated.

The team hopes to continue to take opportunities to learn about other forms of complementary therapies; a talk on ayurvedic therapy is planned.

 
 News: recent < | > earlier
 
 
Copyright © 2013 Ganga Prem Hospice. All Rights Reserved.