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Karunashraya expands to Odisha with palliative homecare

Last Updated : 30 December 2021, 17:43 IST
Last Updated : 30 December 2021, 17:43 IST

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The Bangalore Hospice Trust has expanded its acclaimed and free Karunashraya caregiving service for terminally-ill cancer patients to Odisha.

While the construction of the hospice inside Info Valley in Bhubaneswar is slated to start from January 2022, the homecare service began in October.

“Currently we have about 14 trained staff and two teams for homecare. But we have received over 100 referrals, so we are contemplating the need for a third team in Cuttack,” says managing trustee Gurmeet Singh Randhawa.

Moreover, doctors from the Bengaluru centre are taking turns to visit Bhubaneswar and oversee the operations.

‘Odisha govt gave 20 acres for hospice’

The Trust has been supporting several palliative care organisations by training their staff but the expansion is a first for them.

It was made possible by Mindtree cofounder Subroto Bagchi and his wife Susmita, who wanted to set up a centre with a cancer hospital and a palliative care unit in Odisha. Subroto has been closely associated with the Trust since 2015.

“Our Trust came to their mind when they were looking for the expertise. The couple said they would fund the capital cost of building the hospice as well as running costs,” informs Gurmeet.

The Odisha government came on board. “We got 20 acres of land on a 90-year lease at Re 1 per annum, along with a building spread over 10,000 sq ft free of rent, so we could start homecare services at the earliest,” he continues.

Nurses, doctors, counsellors and administrative staff were recruited in July 2021 and brought to Bengaluru for training. The aim was to teach them the core competencies of palliative care but also imbibe the culture and ethos that Karunashraya stands for.

“Compassion, care, psycho-social support like counselling, and working with like-minded NGOs has been the Trust’s aim,” Gurmeet explains.

The hospice will be complete by the end of 2023 and once it’s up, it will be able to house 110 patients at any given time, with residences for doctors and nurses, and education and training wing, informs Gurmeet.

‘City chapter has looked after 25,000 patients’

The Bangalore Hospice Trust started homecare service for cancer patients in 1995 and currently has three teams in charge.

The Karnataka government granted five acres of land to the Trust, on which Karunashraya was built and houses 75 beds. The Trust has looked after 25,000 patients so far.

Education and research are an important part of Karunashraya. “In Bengaluru, we are currently working on a separate education and research block, and an out-patient department as an extension of our in-patient care,” Gurmeet talks of the plans.

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Published 30 December 2021, 17:36 IST

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