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Importance of support services in cancer care

Balco Medical Centre, Vedanta Medical Research Foundation's first flagship initiative set up in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Published: Feb 18, 2021 03:27:43 PM IST
Updated: Feb 24, 2021 06:27:38 PM IST

Importance of support services in cancer care
During the course of cancer treatment, which is many a times long drawn, patients and their families face myriad of financial, psychological, social and spiritual problems. Some researchers have conclusively proved that if these aspects along with the medical are simultaneously addressed, they have both short and long term benefits to patient’s overall wellbeing and treatment outcome.

Premier cancer hospital such as Balco Medical Centre, Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh, have institutionalized such support to cancer patients and their families. Here, to identify and address social and psychological concerns, a well-qualified clinical psychologist interacts with patients and their families. This trained specialist then helps them to cope these problems through individual and family counselling to overcome stress, sleeping disorders, anxiety, etc. Good premier cancer hospitals have full-fledged pain and palliative care department that helps alleviate pain in a scientific and medical way through intervention and medication.

Another area whose results are found to be extremely gratifying is in the use of patient support groups. These groups are formed where patients get to interact with patients with similar disease, undergoing treatment and cured. Dr. Jayesh Sharma, Chief of Medical Services, Balco Medical Centre, described, "We leave no stone unturned to serve patients with utmost care and compassion and provide them specific support needs to maximize their quality of life. We have so far formed two patient support groups. One for pediatric cancer patients named “Indradhanush” and another “Samarth” for breast cancer patients. In addition to sharing of experiences, group members have the benefit of interacting with hospital clinical and support teams to resolve any concern whatsoever as and when they arise. Going beyond this, the support group also meet in an informal party-like setting as recently the Indradhanush group met at a resort on Christmas Eve. Interactions such as these are truly valuable in closing the loop of cancer treatment.”

In the recovery of certain cancers such as head and neck cancers, rehabilitation plays a pivotal role. This is the reason why reputed oncology hospitals provide in-house rehabilitation services. They have rehabilitation specialist, speech and swallowing therapy and physiotherapist to help these patients to get accustomed to the changes post cancer surgery and help them to perform activities of daily living.

The importance of balanced diet is known to everyone. It helps in the treatment, recovery and prevention of most diseases. The importance of designing individual patient’s food intake during and after cancer treatment by a qualified nutritionist cannot be overstressed especially when there is so much misinformation is floating in the digital space. Dietician Richa Tiwari of Balco Medical Centre said, “During the entire treatment period, our team of qualified nutritionists keep a close watch on the patients and intervene, if they observe anything unusual such as loss of appetite, irregular bowel movements, etc. For underprivileged pediatric cancer patients, we have tied up with Cuddles Foundation and started providing nutritional supplements for use at home to help in their speedy recovery.”

The above are traditional support services offered to enhance patient wellbeing. In addition to this, one area that maximum stresses out the patient and their families is lack of or apprehension of finances.  Prior to the commencement of any treatment, if free frank and open financial counselling is done this will alleviate financial stress to a large extent. Thanks to a large number of governmental schemes, central and state, for the poor and needy, treatment is possible where the patient can walk in and walk out of the hospital without a rupee in his pocket. Speaking on this vital but mostly neglected aspect of support service, S Venkata Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Balco Medical Centre mentioned, “At Balco Medical Centre, we are providing cashless treatment to large majority of patients. We have even gone a step ahead and providing family accommodation at just Rs. 25 per day with full day meal at another Rs. 25 per day to reduce out of pocket expensed. Balco Medical Centre has also tied up with two crowd fund raisers and other philanthropic organizations for those poor patients who are not covered under governmental free treatment schemes.”

Talking about the core values that Balco Medical Centre stands by, Mrs. Jyoti Agarwal, Chairperson of BMC, said, “Cancer, undoubtedly, is one of the most disabling and costly conditions affecting our society. Considering the predicted rise in the number of people living with cancer, it is all the more important to understand the breadth of support they require to adapt to life after treatment. Balco Medical Centre was, therefore, established to be at the forefront of the fight against cancer by providing affordable and holistic cancer care: from prevention to rehabilitation post treatment. We are honored that our small efforts are starting to make a big impact.”

In patient-centric hospitals, such as Balco Medical Centre, these support services play as pivotal role as the actual treatment. This has been observed to substantially lessen patients and their family’s anxiety and, in turn, hasten recovery. These services are what differentiate a good and an excellent cancer hospital.

About Balco Medical Centre:

Balco Medical Centre, Vedanta Medical Research Foundation’s first flagship initiative set up in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh, is a 170-bed, state-of-the-art tertiary care oncology facility more than 50 specialist doctors. It is the largest and most advanced oncology facility in the entire central India. It provides affordable yet world-class treatment of the most critical disease known to mankind. VMRF aims to bring ultra-modern, multi-modality diagnostic and therapeutic facilities within easy reach of India’s population at a reasonable and affordable cost. Currently, it is fast emerging as a national leader in India’s oncology space including medical, surgical, radiation, haematological and palliative care.

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