This is the story of Rotary Club of Bangalore Indiranagar’s flagship project – Karunashraya. Its a story of Care and Compassion built with dedication beyond any defined level!
There are more than 10,000 new cases of cancer in Bangalore every year. Eighty percent of them reach a hospital when it is too late for cure. They desperately need care, psychological support and relief from pain. Do we let them die abandoned in a corner? Or do we treat each life as precious – while it lasts? The Bangalore Hospice Trust has the answer for this desperate need to give the dying their dignity and the living the care, concern and compassion they deserve.
What is hospice care?
It is called palliative care or continuing care. It aims at adding life to days. Not days to life. Hospice care enables a terminally ill patient to cross over without pain and suffering.
Who needs hospice care?
Terminally ill patients who are biding their time. They may not be curable but they still need a lot of care, medication and nursing to ease their suffering.
What is the Hospice movement?
The Hospice movement as we know it today was started by our Patron, Dame Cicely Saunders, who founded the first hospice – St. Christopher’s in London, in 1967. The philosophy of the Hospice movement recognises every individual’s right to die in dignity, free of pain and in peace. No matter how devastating the disease they suffer from.
What is Karunashraya?
Karunashraya is the apt name of a hospice that offers ‘ashray’ and ‘karuna’ to dying human beings, irrespective of caste, creed and economic status.As a part of Bangalore Hospice Trust, and a project of Indian Cancer Society & Rotary Club of Bangalore Indiranagar, Karunashraya has a 55-bed, fully staffed facility on land leased by the Govt. of Karnataka. As a Charitable Trust, its services are completely free of cost and it is run solely on donations.
A lot of care with a little love.
Not for a hospice the clinical detachment of a hospital. Nor the emotional trauma of a home environment. A hospice is a combination of love and specialised care with sophisticated palliative medical attention for relief of symptoms. For patients whose disease has reached an incurable stage. In the words of Dame Cicely “You matter upto the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully but to live fully until you die:”
The story of Karunashraya.
It took a marathon effort on the part of Bangalore Hospice Trusr to bring Karunashraya from a vision to reality. Karunashraya has inspired several Corporates, Charitable Trusts and Benevolent Funds to come forth with generous donations. Individuals have contributed equally generously. Service organisations have given freely and gladly of their services. Professional bodies like the Confederation of Indian Industry set up Walkathons and corporate donations systems to help it along. Finally on 11th April 1999, Karunashraya’was officially declared open by Justice M.F Saldanha of the Karnataka High Court. On 1st May, 1999. the first patient entered Karunashraya’s peaceful ambience. Only to slip away into oblivion within a week. Lulled by the sound of gushingwater, her pain-ravaged brow found comfort in gentle ministrations.
And Karunashraya took its first step towards easing the passage to death for the terminally ill. Till October 2001 KARUNASHRAYA admitted over 860 patients out of whom 476 have died with dignity in our care -peacefully and free from pain.
Home Care Service.
Long before Karunashraya became an actual possibility, BHT began its work in a small way by starting the Home Care Service. This unique concept has experienced nurses, trained as counsellors, who go from home to home offering nursing care, moral support, counselling and training to ravaged families of terminally ill cancer patients.
This service continues even today – totally free of cost.
Upto October 2001 this service helped about 770 patients and their families, in their own homes, to face the inevitable by managing distressing symptoms like excruciating pain and by counselling them. 715 have died – again, in peace and with dignity.
Rotary Indiranagar / BHT Center for Palliative Care Education.
Palliative care is a concept that is little known in India. It covers all aspects of caring and managing a patient for alleviation of symptoms where medicine can no longer cure the disease. Karunashraya has taken the major initiative in starting a training centre to get doctors, nurses, social workers at all levels familiar with this emerging field. In collaboration with Rotary Club
of Bangalore Indiranagar and BHT, the Centre for Palliative Care Education opened in May 1999 and has succeeded in spreading growing awareness of palliative care.
Donations and Tax Exemptions.
All our services are provided free of charge to all with no discrimination. You can help our poor patients with your generosity. Donations are covered by Income Tax exemptions under Sec. _80G (50% exemption) and under Sec. 35AC (100% exemption). All Account Payee cheques to be drawn favouring Bangalore Hospice Trust.