Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital establishes a paediatric palliative care unit

1 in 1,000 children in India need palliative care

Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital, Palliative care unit, Maternity and paediatrics, Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, Hospital in mumbai

The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients with serious illnesses. It prevents or treats symptoms and side effects of disease and treatment, along with tackling emotional, social, and practical problems that illness brings up. Hence, Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for children, Parel, Mumbai, is the first exclusive pediatric Hospital to start a paediatric palliative care unit in India, on May 1, 2019, to enhance the quality of life of children, and help the caregivers too.

Paediatric palliative care is the need of the hour. Many children with life-threatening conditions like cancer, HIV/ AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and life-limiting conditions such as chronic organ failure, genetic diseases, and neurological diseases, need palliative care support. India mainly has palliative care services for adults and for children suffering from cancer. Children with complex or chronic conditions represent an under-served population, and their families are often drained emotionally, financially, spiritually and physically. To help these children, the Bai JerbaiWadia Hospital for Children established the Palliative Care Unit in Mumbai and first of its kind in the country in association with Cipla Foundation. This will be the first structured palliative care service for children and will   include palliative care support for cancer as well as non-cancer conditions.

The palliative care team at this large multi-specialty hospital is composed of doctors, nurses, counselling psychologists and social workers, in collaboration with physiotherapists. Furthermore, nutritionists will provide additional support to improve quality of life for children, along with their families. This team of experts will work to empower caregivers and provide support to the child and family, alongside the treating team. In a unique approach, the palliative care team will be present in the wards where children are receiving treatment so that palliative care can be easily integrated along with treatment to maximize outcomes for patients and their families.

Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO, Wadia Hospitals, Parel, said, “ There are 420  million children in India, and roughly, 1 in 1,000 children in India or world, need palliative care. 4.2 lakhs children under the age group of 18 may need palliative care in India. To help children with life limiting or chronic illnesses like severe malformations, organ failure, and genetic diseases, along with caregivers, paediatric palliative care services have been started in the Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital.”