Now, WhatsApp for palliative care on doorstep

Steel city physician launches team of specialists for the terminally ill

By Animesh Bisoee in Jamshedpur
  • Published 1.09.18
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GOOD SAMARITANS: Anaesthesiologist Dr Umesh Prasad and his MBA wife Seema at their office in Jamshedpur. Telegraph picture

Jamshedpur: Caring for the terminally ill or those suffering from chronic diseases is no mean task. It takes a specialist to provide that extra layer of support to both a patient and his or her immediate family.

A city-based anaesthesiologist has taken a big step to ease the anxiety of families needing palliative care by teaming up with his MBA wife and launching a doorstep service.

Dr Umesh Prasad, who has completed his pain and palliative care course from the prestigious AIIMS in New Delhi, and wife Seema have floated a website ( www.palliativecarejamshedpur.com), a helpline (7257001177) and a WhatsApp number (6206063636) via which the services of professionals can be hired at affordable rates.

"During my stint at a private hospital here for more than a decade, I saw many families struggling to arrange palliative care for bedridden patients or those terminally ill. There was no single-window system to help them with healthcare at home. That is when our start-up was born. We launched on August 28 here. People can call to enquire or post enquiries on our website/WhatsApp number," said the 41-year-old doctor who is associated with a multi-speciality heal hub in suburban Tamolia.

The objective of Dr Prasad's services is not just to attend to patients at home, but also educate family members on how the quality of life of such people can be improved.

"We are offering a bunch of services such as catheterisation, wound dressing, physiotherapy, changing of feeding tubes, colostomy care, bedsore care, pain management and nursing support. We have 20 trained personnel in Jamshedpur," he said.

The team is well-versed in palliative care protocols for patients suffering from cancer, cardiac diseases, neurological conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney failure, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

"We provide the materials for treatment and care. Payments can be made online through electronic transfers or in cash. The maximum charge is for colostomy care - around Rs 1,000 every fortnight when the bag needs to be changed - and the minimum is Rs 400 for procedures such as catheterisation," the doctor said.

Plans, he added, were afoot to extend their services to Ranchi as well.

"We are obtaining feedback from patients and their relatives at regular intervals. In a few months from now, we may be able to start palliative care in the state capital as well."