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INDIA, Rishikesh, August 27th, 2017
August Clinic

On Aug 27, 2017 Ganga Prem Hospice reached a significant milestone: ten thousand patients have now received free medical consultations, financial support, medicines, loving consolation and refreshments at GPH charitable monthly cancer clinics.

Coincidentally, this achievement comes exactly ten years after the service commenced in September 2007 in Rishikesh. This month’s clinic was also a busy one with ninety-one patients, fifty of whom were cancer patients. The Hospice medical director, Dr AK Dewan led the Hospice team of staff and volunteers at the clinic.


   
Dr Dewan with a patient
Dr Dewan with a patient 
Dr Aditi speaks with a home care patient
Dr Aditi speaks with a home care patient
     

 

 

Patients traveled to the clinic from cities near and far, including Dehradun, Haridwar, Tehri, Pauri, Roorkee, Kotdwar and even Sahranpur, which is located in another state. There were some patients who came for follow-up checkups, while others came to get an expert second opinion. Cancers of the tongue, breast, alveolus, buccal mucosa, and larynx were the most common types of cancers seen.

Although Dr Dewan was the only oncologist at the clinic, he was fully supported by four other doctors. Palliative care doctor Aditi Chaturvedi directly assisted Dr Dewan; gynaecologists Dr Rupali Dewan and Dr Rajesh Saxena saw the female patients; Ayurvedacharya Dr JP Rathi advised patients about Ayurvedic remedies; and Dr Harish Chaturvedi taught meditation and relaxation techniques to patients. Dr Chitra Rajendran provided psychological and practical advice to several seriously ill patients, two of whom were offered home care.


   
Mr Arya distributes free medicines
Mr Arya distributes free medicines
Dr Rupali Dewan writes a prescription
Dr Rupali Dewan writes a prescription
     

 

 

As the health care team focused on the medical consultations,  a group of volunteers and administrative staff worked to ensure that the clinic operations ran smoothly. They registered patients, helped infirm patients in and out of the clinic, and served complimentary refreshments. The Hospice drivers, who are now themselves well-versed in the nuances of patient care, also helped people as they arrived — immediately asking if the patient would prefer to sit or to lie down inside on a bed. Other volunteers networked with visitors, encouraging them to participate in the Hospice activities and stay connected. The Hospice team was in for a special treat as one visiting volunteer from Russia came to the clinic specifically to make sandwiches for the staff during the long clinic. GPH’s regular donors continued their support of the clinic with canopies and chairs, and refreshments and tea.

 


 

INDIA, Gohri Maphi, August  17th, 2017
MAMS Students Plant Trees at the Hospice

Children from the Ma Anandmayee Memorial School (MAMS) in Gohri Maphi planted saplings in the grounds of the Ganga Prem Hospice inpatient facility on 17th August.


   
Dr Chitra helps with the planting
Dr Chitra helps with the planting
 Some of the participants at the reception
Some of the participants at the reception
     

 

 

On August 17th, 2017, Ganga Prem Hospice welcomed students, teachers, the principal, director, admin officer, and gardeners from the Ma Anandmayee Memorial School (MAMS) of Gohri Maphi, Rishikesh, who came to plant trees at the Hospice.  The planting of the trees was part of an environmental awareness programme at the school in which a number of the senior children were involved.

Guava and Amaltas were among the saplings planted, along with those of flowering trees. Some of our inpatients and staff joined in the planting activity and also spoke with the guests about how we can all help to protect the environment. The students promised to return regularly to keep an eye on how the plants are growing.

The Ganga Prem team was happy with the warm and friendly visit from MAMS and interest was shown on both sides for future interactions.



 

INDIA, Gohri Maphi, August  4th, 2017
Medical Students from AIIMS, Rishikesh Visit

On 4th August , 65 first year medical students from AIIMS hospital, Rishikesh visited Ganga Prem Hospice.


   
Students listen to Dr Chitra’s talk
 Students listen to Dr Chitra’s talk
Students behind the Reception
Students behind the Reception
     

 

 

The visit was initiated by the Dean of the AIIMS Medical college in Rishikesh and GPH was happy to host the students. Dr Chitra, the Hospice Resident Palliative Care Doctor gave a talk about the purpose and vision of the Hospice. The students were also given a complete guided tour of the Hospice. This was the first visit of its kind and in the light of the positive response of the students and the enthusiasm of the Dean to organize such a visit, GPH will be encouraging  more such visits to enable students to gain a better understanding of the concept of palliative care and hospices. Furthermore, GPH was happy to have strengthened their relationship with such a prestigious Medical institution as AIIMS.



 

 

INDIA, Rishikesh, July 30th, 2017
July Clinic

Patients from ten different towns attend the Ganga Prem Hospice July free cancer clinic on 30th July 2017

The July 30 Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinic was a busy one, with nearly 100 patients and only one cancer specialist,radiation oncologist Dr SK Sharma of Jalandhar. Dr Sharma reached Rishikesh in the early morning, after a three hundred and fifty kilometre overnight train journey from his new post in Punjab, and immediately began seeing patients. His consultations were observed by Josephine Dorling, visiting palliative care nurse and complementary therapist from the John Taylor Hospice, England.


   
Nurse Jo Dorling with Dr Sharma
Nurse Jo Dorling with Dr Sharma
Durga Prasad and Mr Mehra at registration
Durga Prasad and Mr Mehra at registration
     

 

 

A total of twenty-six people- both staff and volunteers - comprised the GPH clinic team this month. The team joyfully served the patients at the clinic, not only helping to facilitate the medical consultations, but also providing medicines and nutritional supplements free-of-charge, offering psycho-spiritual counseling, financial advice, and refreshments to all patients and carers.

A total number of ninety-six patients were seen, forty-two (44%) were patients suffering from cancer, and another four were suspected cancer cases. Cancers of the breast, buccal mucosa, thyroid, tongue, vocal chords, pyriform fossa, oesophagus, gall bladder, endometrium, cervix, prostate, kidney, and soft-tissue were some of the types of cancer observed at the clinic. Ten patients received counseling from palliative care doctor Dr Chitra Rajendran, GPH spiritual advisor Nani Ma, and volunteer homeopath Dr Pradeep Painuly. These patients included some who were already receiving the Hospice's home care, and some who had come for the first time, even from as far away as Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. Now that the hospice residential facility is operational, patients and their carers could be offered the option of inpatient care if they so wished.



   
Dr Chitra counsels a patient
Dr Saxena with lady patients
     

 

 

In all, forty-one patients (43%) came from towns outside of Rishikesh, including Dehradun, Haridwar, Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Sahranpur, Deobad, Bijnor, Kotdwar, Roorkee, and other places.

Ganga Prem Hospice is thankful for the continued clinic support from Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar in the form of complementary tea, fruit juices, and refreshments, andAnand Tent House of Rishikesh which provides chairs, fans, and canopies for the clinic. We are also thankful to patients who thoughtfully drop contributions in the donations boxes. Even though all GPH services are free-of-charge, it is still encouraging for the Hospice team to see that people show appreciation of our service by making voluntary contributions.

 



 

INDIA, Gohri Maphi, July 29th, 2017
Waste Management System at GPH

On July 29, 2017, the Ganga Prem Hospice facility was visited by Swami Amritarupananda and Jitendra Kumar of the charitable organisation "Clean Himalaya Society", based in Muni-Ki-Reti, Rishikesh.

Winner of the 2007 World Bank, India Development Marketplace award for one of the best grassroots initiatives for protection of natural resources, Clean Himalaya has been passionately working for environmentally-friendly garbage management in the Rishikesh area for many years. Ganga Prem Hospice and Clean Himalaya Society have several friends in common, including Swamini Sarvamangalananda, one of GPH’s oldest and most dedicated supporters. The Hospice team was very pleased to welcome Swami Amritarupananda, Swamini Sarvamangalananda, and Jitendra Kumar to the new facility.


   
GPH meeting with “Clean Himalayas”
GPH meeting with “Clean Himalayas”
Swami Amritrupananda appreciates the view
Swami Amritrupananda appreciates the view
     

 

 

Effective, environmentally friendly waste management is a top priority for the Hospice,and the guests were able to offer some welcome advice. They explained how to create garbage segregation categories and how to sell the recyclable garbage for income generation. They also very kindly offered to take whatever garbage Ganga Prem Hospice could not safely dispose off. Speaking about her experience with people's cooperation, Swami Armitarupananda said, "We encourage everybody at the Sivananda Ashram to segregate waste at the source. A majority of the people follow the advice, while around 20% still cheat. The key is to keep on motivating people to segregate their waste.”

The Hospice already has a bio-medical waste management system for the medical waste, and a compost pit for recycling of organic waste. The rain water is harvested for future use, while all the gray water is processed and recycled for non-potable water applications.

The Clean Himalaya guests were also given a tour of the Hospice building. The foothills of the Himalayas and the Ganga river looked beautiful through the monsoon clouds as it started to rain. Swami Armitarupananda left a final message in the visitors’ book before leaving:"wonderful place!"


 

 

INDIA, Gohri Maphi, July, 2017
Daily Yoga classes at the Hospice

During July daily Yoga classes for the staff and carers have begun at the inpatient facility of the Hospice.

Renu Gulati, the yoga teacher, teaches a classical form of Yoga from the Hatha Yoga Tradition. The staff attending the class includes the cleaners, cooks, drivers, nurses and doctor. Everyone thoroughly enjoys the class, so much so that they don't even feel like leaving when it is time for them to go home at the end of the session which is also the end of their working day.


   
 
 
     

 

 

At first the class was being held in the prayer/ meditation room but has now as participants have increased it has shifted to the veranda outside where there is a natural breeze and beautiful views of the mountains and Gangaji.



 

INDIA, Dehradun, July 22nd, 2017
Talk on Volunteering by GPH volunteer

Mrs Jyothi Jayan Warrier, a palliative care volunteer from Pain and Palliative Care Society, Trissur, Kerela volunteered at Ganga Prem Hospice from 6th July to 26th July

Jyothi contributed by joining the home care visits, assisting Dr Chitra in her work at the inpatient facility and organising various events happening in the Hospice. She shared that she was a teacher by profession working in Saudi Arabia and had taught in schools there. She came back to Kerela for her children's education. There she joined as a part time palliative care volunteer, while continuing to teach in a private college. Palliative care volunteering taught her that it was the right of the less fortunate to live well until they die and it is our duty to lend listening ears and feel with an  empathising heart.


   
Jyoti addressing the participants
Jyoti addressing the participants
Discussion groups
Discussion groups
     

 

 

During her stay at Ganga Prem Hospice a volunteers meeting was organised from 5pm-6pm on 22nd July 2017 at Sai Soham Mandir, Subhash Nagar, Dehradun with other GPH volunteers. Thirty-five people participated in the event, mostly from Sai Soham. Some youngsters from Doon University also joined the group along with a few members from the Art of Living organisation. Jyothi shared her experience of volunteering and related that volunteering had made her more compassionate and that she had learned to serve better in her personal life. She especially addressed the young students of Doon University saying  that volunteering at a young age would inculcate human values in their life and bring about an attitude of caring even at a young age. 



 


INDIA, Gohri Maphi, July 15th, 2017           
Kirtan and Meditation at the Hospice

Dr Monika from AIMS Hospital led a kirtan and meditation session at Ganga Prem Hospice on Saturday 15th July 2017 from 4.00pm to 5.30pm.



Kirtan at the Hospice
Kirtan at the Hospice
Staff and patients meditate together
Staff and patients meditate together

 

 

 The lively kirtan was enjoyed by GPH staff along with inpatients and a number of home care patients who had come especially for the event. The kirtan was followed by a short pranayama and meditation session. During the kirtan everyone was clapping and singing to their hearts content. An elderly home care patient in a wheelchair said it was astonishing that usually she could not sit for more than 10 minutes at a time but that she had sat through more than one hour during the programme without the slightest difficulty. Her son shed tears of joy to see her smiling and singing and spoke of his gratitude to GPH saying that he had no words to express how much he and his family appreciated all that the Hospice had done for them.


Kamal and Rakesh, the cooks, bringing out the snacks
Kamal and Rakesh, the cooks, bringing out the snacks

After the kirtan, tea and pakoras sponsored by a GPH staff member were served to all. The dining area was full of joy and laughter as everyone tucked into their snacks.

 
 


INDIA, Rishikesh, June 25th, 2017      
June Clinic

The Ganga Prem Hospice monthly charitable cancer clinic for the month of June 2017 fell on the day preceding the festival of Eid. With long-weekend crowds swelling in the roads around Rishikesh, patients found it hard to reach the clinic from outside the town.

In spite of the holiday, it was still a busy clinic with 77 total patients, 47 of whom were cancer cases. It was also a sombre clinic, as an advanced stage cancer patient expired at the clinic. The Ganga Prem Hospice medical director, Dr AK Dewan, personally supervised the after-death procedures and spoke to the family.

With the opening of the Hospice inpatient facility, the outpatient cancer clinics now have the added dimension of screening patients for admittance. There were three patients at the clinic on June 25 who will be relocating to the hospice for in-patient care. One of these individuals was driven to the facility in the Ganga Prem Hospice vehicle following his visit to the clinic.



Sister Mamata distributes free medicines
Sister Mamata distributes free medicines
Driver Amir wheels a patient out of the clinic
Driver Amir wheels a patient out of the clinic

 

 


Although the total number of patients seen was somewhat fewer than usual, it was still an intense and lengthy clinic as 61% of the patients were cancer cases. In total, there were eleven cases of oral cancer, with cancer of the tongue surpassing breast cancer as most the most common malignancy. Oncologists Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma were busy with patients throughout the day. The nurses also were involved in a variety of jobs, as there were patients receiving intravenous drips, others who required dressing changes, and the one patient who needed post-mortem care.

Palliative care doctor Chitra Rajendran spoke to patients, recorded relevant details for follow-up care, and assessed patients for hospice admission needs.


Gynaecologist Dr Saxena with a patient
Gynaecologist Dr Saxena with a patient
Medical student observes Dr Dewan with a patient
Medical student observes Dr Dewan with a patient

 

 


As always a volunteer gynaecologist and ayurvedacharya provided support to the oncologists at the clinic. Volunteers helped with the registration process and other clinic operations. A visiting medical student from the University of California, Berkeley, observed the clinic operations as part of her research study on palliative care in India.


  Medicines were distributed free of charge by the clinic pharmacist and refreshments provided to patients. 
Drivers Vijay and Amir distribute fruit juice
Drivers Vijay and Amir distribute fruit juice
 
 


INDIA, Gohri Maphi, June 21 2017     
Ganga Prem Hospice Mandir Kalash Sthapana

A team of masons from Rajisthan have been building the Hospice temple which already looks beautiful. On 19th June the kalash was put in place with the traditional puja.

The exterior of the Ganga Prem Hospice temple, which is being built on the Ganga side of the inpatient facility, has been finished in a beautiful pink engraved stone by temple masons from Rajisthan. On the 19th June the topmost part, the kalash was set in place and the masons performed a traditional puja with Ganga water, flowers, sandalwood paste, sacred thread, incense and a ghee lamp. 



The mason doing the Kalash puja
The mason doing the Kalash puja
Hospice family taking prasad
Hospice family taking prasad

 

 


Everyone watched the puja from the ground and then took prasad in the form of a sandalwood tilak and halwa that had been sponsored by a Hospice supporter.  Patients and staff enjoyed the first Hospice event together and look forward to the consecration of the temple.

The two days following the Kalashsthapana saw sweets and a feast being offered to everyone by supporters of the Hospice to commemorate a Nirvana Divas and a special anniversary.


 

 

INDIA, Gohri Maphi, June 5th, 2017  
GPH Inpatient Facility Opens

After 12 years of dedicated work from staff, volunteers and supporters, the Ganga Prem Hospice inpatient facility finally opened its doors to patients on the 5th of June, 2017.

As the first patient was brought into the facility on a wheelchair, a new phase began for Ganga Prem Hospice. Although the Hospice has been offering free cancer camps and daily home care services since 2006, the main aim of the Hospice had always been to offer inpatient services. Over the years invaluable support has been provided through the GPH services to many patients with cancer, many difficulties have been faced and overcome and much had been learnt by the time the 48 year old patient entered the new Hospice facility. The team is well aware that there are many new challenges to come.



Sanjay is wheeled into the Hospice
Sanjay is wheeled into the Hospice
GPH nurses make the patient comfortable
GPH nurses make the patient comfortable

 

 


Sanjay, a widower and father of two children, was terminally ill with lung cancer and bone metastasis. He was having difficulty breathing as he was gently lowered on to the bed. Soon he seemed relaxed and his young son helped the nurses to care for him with great devotion. Sanjay was not very hungry but enjoyed the fresh soups made for him in the facility’s new kitchen.

On the morning of the 7th June, Sanjay was taken for a short walk in a wheelchair along the wide verandah outside the patients’ rooms. He commented on how beautiful the view was and how peaceful it was. Later that morning he passed away quietly in the presence of his son.  The GPH team comforted the boy whose silent tears flowed with a dignity and understanding beyond his years. He was helped to give his father Ganga water and tulsi leaves before the body was taken to his home in the GPH ambulance.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, May 28th, 2017  
May Clinic

Exactly fifty-one percent of the ninety-nine patients, attending the Ganga Prem Hospice May 28, 2017 charitable cancer clinic, were cancer patients.



  The two senior oncologists had a busy time as every second patient had a malignancy. Of those fifty-one malignancies, nine cases were of buccal mucosa oral cancer. In all, oral cancers constituted forty percent of all cancer incidents seen.
GPH nurse distributes medicines
GPH nurse distributes medicines
 

 

 


Not just the doctors, but the counsellors also worked tirelessly that day, speaking not only to patients but also comforting bereaved family members including  two women who had been recently widowed and came to the clinic for help. One elderly woman who had just lost her husband, and had also been rendered homeless, was taken to Dehradun after a one night stay at the GPH inpatient facility. Ganga Prem Hospice supporters at the Sai Soham Samiti will try to give her a place to stay. As the woman had very poor eye-sight, a Ganga Prem Hospice personnel held her hand as she walked out of the clinic and to the GPH Rishikesh base, the Punjab Sindh Kshetra, for lunch. The Hospice’s medical director carried her bag for her.


Counselling a newly bereaved widow
Counselling a newly bereaved widow
Palliative care specialist, Dr Chitra, with a patient
Palliative care specialist, Dr Chitra, with a patient

 

 


Seven doctors of five different specialties, including two oncologists, two palliative care experts, a dental surgeon, a homeopath practitioner and an ayurvedacharya were present at the clinic. Volunteers helped immensely, not only with calling in of the patients, and with scanning of their prescriptions but also with raising in-kind donations for the Hospice. While five volunteers assisted directly with the patient-related work, there were others who networked on behalf of the hospice. The hospice kitchen and food supplies are being sponsored and donated generously by local supporters. This clinic saw palliative care doctor Aditi Chaturvedi carry 20 KGs of wheat flour and a weighing scale to Rishikesh that had been donated by a friend of the Hospice.

Even though there were nearly a hundred patients to be seen, the pace remained consistent, and by one o’ clock in the afternoon, nearly all the patients had been seen. The May 2017 clinic of Ganga Prem Hospice was also the last clinic to be held before the office moves over to the Hospice facility in Raiwala area of Rishikesh. The clinic venue will however stay at the Sardarni Nanki Devi Punjab Sindh Kshetra Charitable Hospital, as it has remained for the last ten years of its operations.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, April 30th, 2017  
April Clinic

On April 30, 2017 two oncologists, a palliative care specialist, two senior gynaecologists, a dental surgeon and an Ayurvedacharya gave consultations to patients at the Rishikesh cancer clinic.



The dental surgeon gives consultation
The dental surgeon gives consultation
palliative care doctor notes down symptoms
palliative care doctor notes down symptoms

 

 


Ninety-two patients attended the clinic in spite of the gusting winds and unusually inclement weather. There were fifty-one cancer patients at the clinic, including nine terminally ill patients, eight of whom were current home care patients. One individual was sent for additional tests to confirm a suspected cancer diagnosis.

Breast cancer was once again the most common malignancy; there were eight confirmed cases at the clinic. Head and neck cancers were also a prevalent category with fourteen cases of ten different types of head and neck cancers. Oral cancers were also common, including nine cases of cancers of the alveolus, buccal mucosa, and tongue.

Delhi-based oncologists Drs AK Dewan and SK Sharma focused primarily on the medical concerns of cancer patients,while post-consultation counseling was conducted by Dr Aditi Chaturvedi. There were a few cases which required in-depth counseling, such as an elderly couple who had come from Kankhal in Haridwar.The sixty-five year old husband was suffering from advanced stage oropharynx cancer with a tumour-related wound on his neck. As their landlord was about to evict the couple from their home because of the patient's wound and prognosis, the Hospice team spent time talking with them and exploring possible housing options. This case is a example of some of the unique challenges of hospice care in India, and highlights the need for more residential care facilities.



Local supporters speak with poor patients
Local supporters speak with poor patients
A GPH nurse mans the medicine desk
A GPH nurse mans the medicine desk

 

 


Volunteers offered significant assistance at the clinic as always –by scanning prescriptions, summoning patients and so forth. The neighbouring Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar restaurant supplied tea and refreshments generously.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, March 26th, 2017 
March Clinic

In its tenth year of operation, the Ganga Prem Hospice monthly cancer clinic in Rishikesh continues to offer exceptional medical care free of charge to the people of Uttarkhand.  Since September 2007 over 9500 patients have received free consultations, medicines and more.

The March 26, 2017 clinic was attended by 106 patients who were given oncological, gynaecological and palliative care consultations, medicines, massages and nursing care. Of the 106 patients, fifty-seven were malignancy cases. Amongst these, there were eight terminally ill individuals who required immediate attention. A soft palate cancer patient from Rishikesh was exceedingly weak from starvation and dehydration. Surgical oncologist Dr AK Dewan recommended an immediate entereal feed for him. A gravity feeding bag was procured and the patient was fed by this means for the next three hours.



TICP receives entereal feed at the clinic
TICP receives entereal feed at the clinic
Dr Aditi speaks with a patient
Dr Aditi speaks with a patient

 

 


A female lung cancer patient was brought to the clinic from Dehradun by her son. She clearly required regular palliative care and was added to the home care roster by the Ganga Prem Hospice team. Another terminally ill home care patient's wife was counselled by Dr Aditi Chaturvedi. Dr. Aditi gently explained to the wife that her husband was now grievously ill and that his prognosis was not optimistic. The patient's wife was naturally saddened by this news, but comforted by the sincere care and consideration of the counsellor.


GPH team give supplements to a patient
GPH team give supplements to a patient
GPH Manager and volunteer at Registration
GPH Manager and volunteer at Registration

 

 


While oncologists Dr AK Dewan and Dr SK Sharma examined the fifty-seven cancer patients, gynaecologists Dr Rupali Dewan and Dr Rajesh Saxena saw female patients. An Ayurvedacharya assisted the doctors, while a volunteer homeopathy practitioner assisted the counsellor in making assessments, taking down patients' details, and in explaining their medication to them. A masseuse gave the sick patients hand and foot massages. One patient shyly asked her not to take the trouble, to which she cheerfully replied that that was her job. Herbal supplements donated by Organic India were also distributed to patients according to their needs.

There were a staggering eleven cases of breast cancer alone among the malignancies, followed by six cases of pyriform fossa, and four cases of lung cancer.

Experienced volunteers supported the clinic as always - calling patients into the consultation rooms, assisting at the registration desk and scanning prescriptions. The Rajasthani Mishthaan Bhandaar supplied fruits for distribution to the patients and served tea at the clinic, as well as providing snacks for the hospice team.


 


INDIA, Dehradun, March 19th, 2017  
GPH and Elderly Volunteers

Dr Aditi Chaturvedi and volunteer Saurabha Todariya addressed a group of eighty elderly people in Dehradun in a talk entitled 'Palliative Care and Elderly Volunteers'. After the talk many members of the audience were eager to help in GPH work.



 


INDIA, Dehradun, March 8th, 2017 
Cancer Awareness on International Women’s Day

On the 8th of March Ganga Prem Hospice, Jascap Foundation and Doon Government Hospital (Dehradun) hosted a breast and cervical cancer awareness talk in honor of Women’s Day.

Around forty people – hospital patients and their relatives – attended the educational presentation which focused on cancer prevention and introduced the topic of palliative care.

In India, as many as 70% of cancer deaths occur because of late diagnosis. Dr. Navneet Jain, surgical oncologist of Doon Hospital, encouraged women to speak up immediately if they notice any female health abnormalities so that potential cancers can receive timely treatment.



Dr Aditi answering questions at the event
Dr Aditi answering questions at the event
Doctors participate in the presentation
Doctors participate in the presentation

 

 


GPH doctors, Dr. Chitra Rajendran and Dr. Aditi Chaturvedi answered women’s health questions and explained the meaning of palliative and hospice care in the context of their work with Ganga Prem Hospice.

After the talk, the doctors met together to discuss ways to expand palliative care in the region. The GPH team conveyed their willingness to provide hospice home care services to patients referred by Doon Hospital, while also encouraging the government doctors to begin palliative care in the hospital itself. GPH would like to thank Mr. Ravi Kant from Jascap foundation for organizing this event for Women’s Day.


 


INDIA, Gohri Maphi, February 28th, 2017
Inauguration of GPH Inpatient Facility

The east wing of the Ganga Pram Hospice inpatient facility was inaugurated by the GPH team and the main construction sponsors on the 28th February 2017.

After three years of construction work –diligently supervised by the architect, structural engineer, and several other experts (many of whom worked free-of-charge for the project,) the Ganga Prem Hospice inpatient facility was inaugurated in a small ceremony on the 28th of February, 2017. Situated at Village Gohri Maphi in the Raiwala area of Rishikesh, the building's completed East Wing has three floors and thirty-four rooms, and will be able to serve seventeen  terminally ill inpatients.







  The GPH team had only eight days to prepare for the inauguration event, as one of the financial sponsors unexpectedly requested that the building be opened on February 28th. Hospice staff, administration and volunteers all cleared their calendars to focus on the necessary arrangements. On 27th February, the day preceding the inauguration, preparations continued at the site well into the night.  
GPH nurses prepare auspicious rangolis
GPH nurses prepare auspicious rangolis
 

 

 

Ganga Prem Hospice volunteers in particular did a sterling job cleaning and decorating inside the building and around the site.

The opening ceremony was intimate and friendly with around eighty people – staff, volunteers, donors, supporters and friends – in attendance on a spring Tuesday forenoon. The ceremony began with a santoor and tabla classical music performance.


classical music performance
Classical music performance
GPH staff and supporters listen to the music (photo taken from inside the facility kitchen)
GPH staff and supporters listen to the music
(photo taken from inside the facility kitchen)

 

 


The welcome address was then given by the medical director of the hospice, Dr AK Dewan, and the vote of thanks by spiritual advisor, Nani Ma. Representatives of the corporate construction sponsors, BHEL and IFCI Social Foundation, inaugurated their respective floors of the building with inspirational speeches and ribbon cutting. BHEL and IFCI are two well-respected public sector companies in India. The general manager of IFCI, Delhi, Pawan Kumar, called upon his corporate associates to support activities like that of Ganga Prem Hospice. The BHEL general manager, Sudhir Kumar Aggarwal, spoke about the hospice’s mission to provide service to the dying and needy. He recalled the popular saying that those who live for themselves meet an end, while those who live for others are remembered for a long time. The chief guest of the ceremony, BHEL Haridwar Executive Director Prakash Chand, was self-effacing in his words when he said that BHEL considered itself fortunate for having been part of a project like Ganga Prem Hospice.


BHEL Prakash Chand inaugurates the first 2 floors
BHEL Prakash Chand inaugurates the first 2 floors
IFCI Pawan Kumar inaugurates the top floor
IFCI Pawan Kumar inaugurates the top floor

 

 


The gram pradhan (elected village head) of Gohri Maphi was also special invitee, representing and honoring the partnership with the local community. After the inauguration, all the guests were given a guided tour of the hospice building, followed by a catered lunch.


GPH is proud of its eco-friendly building
GPH is proud of its eco-friendly building

The building designed by India’s renowned architect, Professor Yatin Pandya, is an eco-friendly facility, with rain water harvesting, decentralized wastewater treatment system (DEWATS), solar water heating, and a construction design which maximizes natural light and air circulation. While some minor finishing work continues at the site, the hospice team hopes that the inpatient service will be able to begin in the coming months.

 

 

 


Ganga Prem Hospice would like to thank all the volunteers, donors, and supporters who so lovingly helped in the preparations and on the inauguration day. While one guest and donor made a generous financial contribution on that day, another donor supplied bottled drinking water for the ceremony. Thanks also to the many friends of GPH who sent messages of congratulations and good wishes from around the world.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, February 26th, 2017
February Clinic

Exactly one hundred patients came to the Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinic in Rishikesh on February 28th, 2017, and 61% of them were proven cancer cases.

The hospice team dove into the clinic work, even as the hospice building inauguration preparations were in the forefront of everyone’s mind. The two senior oncologists had a heavy work-load as they examined and advised sixty-four patients with cancer and suspected malignancies within the span of a few hours. The hospice medical director, Dr AK Dewan, left for the site immediately after wrapping up the clinic consultations.



Dr Dewan with a patient
Dr Dewan with a patient
Dr Sharma writes a report
 Dr Sharma writes a report

 

 


Three palliative care specialists at the clinic also had their hands full with eleven patients in the advanced stages of cancer who required extensive attention. In total there were nine doctors present at the clinic including an Ayurevedacharya, a visiting Homoepath, a gynaecologist and an onco-psychiatrist.


Dr Saxena advises a patient
Dr Saxena advises a patient
Nani Ma fills in a patient’s cover form
Nani Ma fills in a patient’s cover form

 

 


Buccal mucosa, tongue and breast were the most common cancers, with nine, seven and five cases respectively. The total number of different cancer types recorded at the clinic was twenty-six.

As always, a support team of staff and volunteers contributed significantly to the smooth functioning of the clinic by registering the patients, calling them in to the doctors’ offices, recording their prescription details, dispensing medicines, and serving refreshments.


 

 

INDIA, Dehradun, February 23rd, 2017
Uttarakhand Palliative Care Meeting

On Feb. 23rd four doctors from Ganga Prem Hospice were among the eighteen doctors from the state of Uttarkhand and beyond who gathered in Dehradun to discuss the development of a state “Palliative Care Policy.”

Supported by the central government, a few other states in India have adopted  such a policy in order to facilitate government support for expanding palliative care and hospice services. Such support manifests in the form of funding for specialized medical training, new in-patient care facilities, efficient access to controlled medications and so forth.

The doctors present at the meeting discussed the most pressing needs of palliative care in Uttarkhand state and their ideas to meet these needs. Another meeting is scheduled in April to follow up on the progress of the work. In the meantime the Uttarakhand State government has promised to open palliative care centres in the State where strong pain control medicine would be more easily available.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, February 16th, 2017
Yoga Niketan Donates Ambulance to GPH 

An ambulance was donated to Ganga Prem Hospice by the Yoga Niketan Trust of Rishikesh, on the 16th of February, 2017.

Yoga Niketan is one of the oldest ashrams in Rishikesh and was founded by the famous yogi, Swami Yogeshwarananda. The Ganga Prem Hospice team reached the ashram at 9.30 am where they were offered a light breakfast before the simple donation ceremony began.



The ambulance keys being given to GPH
Patients and their relatives enjoying the party

The keys were handed over to Ganga Prem Hospice Trustee, Nani Ma by Mr. Kazu Keishin Kimura, head of the Japanese branch of Yoga Niketan after formalities had been completed with Yoga Niketan trustee, Mr. Sudhanshu Mundra . Nani Ma spoke a few words of gratitude in which she paid tribute to Swami Yogeshwarananda’s exceptional yogic skill and worldwide renown.

 

 

 


The gift of the ambulance is indeed a timely addition to the GPH fleet of vehicles, as the inpatient facility is to open soon, and an ambulance is much needed to transport bed ridden patients to and from the facility.

 


INDIA, Uttarakhand, January, February, 2017
Uttarakhand Needs Palliative Care  

Recently the GPH team has increased its efforts to ensure palliative care continues to develop in the state of Uttarakhand.

Recognizing that GPH is only able to provide care to patients in a relatively small area, there is an immense need to inspire others to take on the task of providing palliative care for those both at home and in the hospitals. This need has lead to several initiatives which include the formation of:

The Uttarakhand Palliative Care Network (UPCN):  A new network to link health care professionals who are currently providing palliative care or have a wish to develop services in the region, with other interested parties. Invitations to join the network have been accepted by those within Uttarakhand, those from other states in India and international hospice supporters.

An Uttarakhand State Palliative Care Policy: Initial talks with Government officials have led to the organization of a meeting on 23rd February with the aim of developing a policy.  Influential palliative care professionals from outside of Uttarakhand have also kindly accepted the invite to speak at this meeting.

An E Petition: This is being circulated to show public recognition of the importance of palliative care and will be sent to those government officials who are in the position to develop a state policy. Supporters from Uttarakhand as well as across India and overseas have signed to date.

https://www.change.org/p/uttarakhand-let-s-stop-suffering-at-the-end-of-life

GPH supporters will continue to be updated with progress in these developments.



 


INDIA, Rishikesh, January 29th, 2017
January Clinic 

The first charitable cancer clinic of 2017 fell on an unusually chilly winter day which saw everybody wrapped in woolens to ward off the cold. The GPH team had a busy time as all the beds in the waiting room were occupied with sick patients who needed warmth and rest.

The three palliative care doctors, and one onco-psychologist had a particularly demanding time attending to the terminally ill and sick, and discussing the home care patients' cases with the two oncologists. There were eight doctors present at the clinic supported by a team of nurses, staff and volunteers.



Dr Brenda discusses a patient’s case with Dr Dewan
Dr Brenda discusses a patient’s case with Dr Dewan
 

 

 


Of the seventy-five patients seen on January 29, thirty-six were cancer cases. Of these, 22% were tongue cancer cases alone. With another seven cases of buccal mucosa, oral cancers constituted 41% of the total number of malignancies seen.

Patients came to the clinic from the base town of Rishikesh, and from the neighbouring cities of Dehradun, Haridwar, Roorkee, and also from Sahranpur in western Uttar Pradesh.


The child patient being ‘weighed’ at her request!
The child patient being ‘weighed’ at her request!
 

 

 


A thirteen year old home care patient with brain cancer was brought to the clinic by the GPH team who are caring for her around the clock in a local hospital. Her bed was surrounded by loving staff and volunteers who showered her with affection. At her request she was taken on a wheelchair to see the nearby Ganga river. She enjoyed the journey through the local bazaar and arrived back after an hour – tired but elated by her adventure. 

After the clinic Dr Dewan walked to a nearby hospital where another GPH home care patient was staying. Twenty-four year old Anup has horrendous cancer wounds which are dressed daily by the GPH nurses. Dr Dewan advised the hospital doctors as to how Anup’s suprapubic catheter could be located and changed by the resident surgeon. Anup was thrilled by Dr Dewan’s visit as was the owner of the hospital.



 


INDIA, Gohri Maphi, January 24th, 2017
GPH Team Inspiration Meeting 

On the afternoon of January 24th Ganga Prem Hospice held its annual team inspiration meeting.

Fourteen members of the hospice staff and volunteers left Rishikesh around 1pm to attend the meeting at Nani Ma’s ashram in Gohri Maphi. The gathering commenced in the sunny,  flower-filled garden of the ashram. Nani Ma began by sharing her thoughts about the relationship of spirituality and patient care. She reminded the team how important it is to consider the spirit and  not only the body, and to consider the patient as a whole being . She concluded her remarks on this topic using the metaphor of a tree: the tree is the body/mind complex and the roots are the spirit. Without taking care of the roots, the tree will never bloom.



 

 


Once Nani Mai had finished speaking, the members of the team had the opportunity to question her about any concerns they might have relating to the spiritual component of care. Vijay Halder, who works as driver in Ganga Prem Hospice, shared what he experiences while he’s waiting for the staff during a home care visit. Sometimes the patient’s neighbors come to speak to him; sometimes they ask him about the patient’s condition or about GPH, other times they tell him anecdotes about the patient’s family. His descriptions reminded everyone how important it is to recognize every hospice team member as a precious source of information.

Next, the assembly broke into small groups, and everyone informally shared how they personally experience spirituality in hospice work. Each person came up with a word that best expresses the spiritual value of care for them. The words were then written on a large whiteboard and are being made into a poster to be displayed in the hospice office. In this way they can be appreciated everyday b staff and visitors. The words include: love from family, compassion, selflessness, peace, connection, understanding, joy, oneness, and many others!

Members of the GPH team enjoyed this opportunity to share an afternoon of reflection and spiritual values. The meeting ended at around 5 pm with a group visit to the new hospice building, which will open its doors on 28th February.


 


INDIA, Rishikesh, January 21st, 2017
A Bereavement Gathering  

On Saturday 21st January, GPH hosted its first gathering of bereaved relatives in an event of remembrance and celebration.

Art therapy, music and spiritual discourse provided the primary framework for the two hour afternoon program. The families of about twelve deceased GPH patients attended the gathering from Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun. The GPH office veranda was filled with about forty people, including staff and many assistants.



The tree of remembrance being made
The tree of remembrance being made
a group photo at the bereavement event
a group photo at the bereavement event

 

 



Once most of the guests were seated, the formal program began with a short welcome address by Dr. Brenda Ward leading into an Indian classical music concert directed by Maestro Pankaj of Ramesh Shivanand School of Music, Rishikesh. The audience enjoyed the presentation of devotional singing in traditional ragas, followed by bansuri (bamboo flute) and sitar, accompanied by tanpura and tabla. Pankaj ji himself lost his mother to cancer, so it was particularly meaningful for him to perform at this event. (His mother was a GPH patient in the early days of the home care program.) The majority of participants in this group are bereaved and many sent messages of support and encouragement in the content of their quilted pieces. During a short break for tea and snacks everyone was invited to view the quilt up close, and anyone who hadn’t made a leaf on the art therapy tree was encouraged to do so.



Musicians lay at the event
Musicians lay at the event
Spiritual discourse before meditation
Spiritual discourse before meditation

 

 


After the break the afternoon’s program concluded with a short spiritual talk and guided meditation by hospice trustee and spiritual advisor, Nani Ma.

 


INDIA, Rishikesh, January 17th, 2017
GPH and Organic India

Organic India have kindly offered to support Ganga Prem Hospice and a meeting between one of their doctors and GPH staff took place at the GPH office in January.

The highly reputed international company Organic India, renowned for its quality organic products, has chosen to assist GPH through donation of their products which are likely to be of benefit to patients. The use of ayurvedic treatments is popular in India and is regularly used to complement allopathic medicine (those pharmacological drugs usually prescribed by the medical profession).

On 17th  January one of Organic India's ayurvedic doctors, Dr Mohit Bhalla, visited GPH to meet the team, ensure their understanding of the role of organic, ayurvedic treatments and to determine which products would be likely to be the most useful to those patients requiring complementary treatments. He made a presentation to twelve of the hospice staff and volunteers who appreciated the opportunity to ask questions about ayurvedic medicine, hear about some of the research findings and share with him the common symptoms experienced by palliative care patients.

The team look forward to being able to support their patients with the use of Organic India’s medicines and supplements.



 

INDIA, Haridwar, January 13th, 2017 
A Day of Sharing for GPH Children 

On 13th January ten children from Ganga Prem Hospice enjoyed a day of sunshine and recreation hosted by the fifty-five children and staff of Sri Ram Ashram orphanage.  

The GPH children included two child patients and eight more children in various stages of bereavement. Their ages range from five to fourteen and all were accompanied by one or two parents. These young individuals have already been through difficult challenges in their lives, whether facing the loss a parent or coping with illness themselves. In addition, many of the children are from poor families and thus rarely get the opportunity for this type of recreation. GPH was thrilled to be able to offer this special day in the loving environment of Sri Ram Ashram, facilitated by the matron, Rashmi Cole.

In the morning four GPH vehicles dispersed to collect the children and parent(s) from their homes around Rishikesh and Haridwar. Meanwhile preparations were busily underway at Sri Ram Ashram where the children helped to prepare the lunch for their expected guests. By mid-day the vehicles had all arrived and the visitors were greeted by Ms. Rashmi, her staff and the many joyful children of Sri Ram Ashram. Ms. Rashmi had made a point to learn the names and backgrounds of the GPH children in advance so that she could make them feel as welcome as possible.



GPH children on swings at the ashram
GPH children on swings at the ashram
GPH children play on the scooters
GPH children play on the scooters

 

 


The young guests quickly found themselves drawn to the extensive playground and new playmates, while the adults warmed themselves in the winter sun and enjoyed a relaxing interlude of conversation with new friends. The ashram recreation area features all the traditional amenities – swings, slides, monkey-bars, a merry-go-round and, on the opposite side of the road, basketball courts and grassy fields. Even the GPH drivers were inspired to join in the play with a frisbee. The outdoor play continued throughout the afternoon, interrupted only by a sumptuous lunch at noon and concluding with a delicious snack of Aloo Teeki before departure around 4pm.


Enjoying lunch at the ashram
Enjoying lunch at the ashram
Anjali collecting her Aloo Teeki
Anjali collecting her Aloo Teeki

 

 


One GPH child however was not able enjoy the playground: thirteen year old Reshu soon asked to lie down after sitting in a wheel chair for a short while after her arrival. Reshu has lost use of her left side due to a brain tumor and now frequently has difficultly even holding her head up. She and her mother live alone in a tiny flat in Haridwar and rarely receive visitors. For more than two years, Reshu has been mostly house-bound so this outing was a special opportunity for Reshu to be outside in nature with other kids. While the adults visited nearby, Reshu indeed enjoyed the company of many new friends who leaned in close to chat, sing and play games. For the entire day her cot was the point from which all activity radiated! A few days later, Reshu said that her favorite part of the day was cuddling with the ashram’s newest member, Arjun, a three month old baby boy.


Reshu with baby Arjun
Reshu with baby Arjun
Dr Brenda with Monica
Dr Brenda with Monica

 

 


Sitting near Reshu throughout the day, Ms. Rashmi shared stories of the ashram (often with one of three infants in her arms!) and monitored the bustling activity around her. Given her many years of experience with children in distress, she could easily spot the pain of Anjali and Monica, who had just lost their mother, GPH patient Suman Kashyap. Although Anjali is still young enough to lose herself for a few hours in play, Monica’s sorrow shadowed her pretty smile even as she joined in the games. The girls’ father is a poor manual laborer and has been pleading with GPH to find a boarding school for his daughters because he cannot care for them properly. Moved by their plight, Ms. Rashmi pledged her help in the search for a good boarding school, and GPH is actively seeking sponsors for the girls’ education.


Sharing games
Sharing games
Saying goodbye –till next time!
Saying goodbye –till next time!

 

 


Late in the afternoon as the courtyard passed into shadow, the visitors reluctantly prepared to depart, but no one wanted to leave the joyful ashram home. As Reshu was helped into the GPH van, her new friends crowded around still chatting and promising to visit soon. For GPH the day was successful beyond all expectation thanks to the Sri Ram Ashram family. According to Ms. Rashmi, it was a special day all the way around: “We had so much fun with GPH. Let’s do it again. Thank you for allowing our children to participate in the incredible work GPH does and to allow them the opportunity to give rather than always receiving.”


 


INDIA, Dehradun, January 4th, 2017 
GPH and Uttarakhand Palliative Care Policy

Ganga Prem Hospice makes another step to facilitate and promote the Government of Uttarakhand to form a State Palliative Care Policy. 

Palliative care doctors from Ganga Prem Hospice met National Health Mission Director, Dr Neeraj Khairwal (IAS, Additional Secretary) on 4th January, 2017, at the Director General Office in Dehradun, to plan a meeting of NHM Director and Non-Communicable Diseases Assistant Director with leading oncologists and cancer patient representatives from the State of Uttarakhand in order to request the Government to have a State Palliative Care Policy for Uttarakhand.

Other eminent doctors who intend to join the meeting are Dr Rajgopal, Director of WHO COLLABORATING Centre-TIPS, Trivandrum, Dr Sushama Bhatnagar, Palliative Care Consultant, AIIMS , New Delhi and Dr Ann Thyle, Palliative Care Consultant from Emmaneual Group of Hospitals, New Delhi.

This meeting will be an endeavour by Ganga Prem Hospice to reach out to more people suffering and dying in pain through a request to the Government of Uttarakhand to understand the need for palliative care and to take active measures in this direction. The meeting has been fixed for the 23rd February, 2017.



 
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