Although modern medicine is making tremendous advancement in disease management, there are many cases that reach a state of incurability. Death is inevitable but arrives slowly, accompanied by severe pain, discomfort and emotional crisis both to the patient and the family.
Globally, the hospice is a facility for such end stage patients who do not need active medical intervention for cure.
Vrindavan Institute of Palliative Care is hospice center that offers terminally ill patients comfort and the highest possible quality of life in the serene environment of the holy town of Vrindavan.
Pain and physical discomforts are managed by modern medicine, while the patient and the relatives are offered emotional support by counselling and spiritual prayers.
Personalized service and a compassionate approach to end-of-life care is the foundation upon which the premise is built. Skilled and capable medical care goes a long way in helping an individual bound to death and limited by their condition.
Although death is a natural part of life, the thought of dying terrifies many people. In this time of need, it is our ultimate goal to honor their decisions and choices, thus giving them the emotional and spiritual support they desire.
Care and counselling goes beyond the person in his/her last stages, it includes embracing the family and providing support to them as well. This type of care provides the patient’s family with a route to go beyond the physical realities of an advanced condition and deal with important emotional and spiritual issues. Simply because, in the end every moment spent together is a precious and infinite memory.
The district of Mathura has a large population of around 1.5m. What happens when a patient is terminally ill?
Doctors find it emotionally challenging to break the bad news. This results in a lack of adequate communication.
The patient can keep looking for curative options. In fact, 99% of patients come looking for curative care. They end up selling their land & everything else to undergo surgery or radiotherapy hoping against hope for some cure. One way of helping them is to explain the progress of the illness and futility of expensive treatment options.
The Medical Profession has unfortunately turned into a very expensive industry as you may be aware. These poor patients are at the receiving en and as a result we are trained in a way to counsel them and also to comfort their relatives, even before the patient has passed away. When a patient dies, the family is emotionally shattered. Doctors are naturally busy so a team of bereavement counsellors has been put together who can spend time talking with the families throughout.
After going through the options for the cure, the patients come to us and they are depressed at times and someone will always be on hand to listen.
In the surrounding areas, there is a lack of awareness. If we can spread awareness amongst these villagers about cancer, about hospice palliative care; it would make all the difference. We can create awareness so that they take a proper decision; saving them time and money. The quality of their remaining life would also be much better. And if we prepare them and their family for this eventuality, they would also be able to put aside this money for their children’s future. This is what many individuals in the organisation are hoping to achieve in the near future.
Brief summary of our work so far…
Total patients 375
Age group wise statistics of the patients
Below 10 years = 4
10 to 20 years = 5
20 to 30 years = 16
30 to 40 years = 51
40 to 50 years = 90
50 to 60 years = 92
60 to 70 years = 73
70 to 80 years = 33
80 to 90 years = 9
Purpose and Mission
As stated, this hospice prepares individuals to live out their final days in the most holy abode of Vrindavan.
A hospice after all affirms life and regards dying as an inevitable part of the circle of life – neither hastening nor postponing death, but merely facilitating the soul’s departure in a dignified, spiritual environment. There is also emphasis placed upon alleviating pain and ease the discomfort of physical symptoms also known as palliative care.
Designed to provide care for people in the final stages of a terminal illness, our hospice enlists the sturdy yet comfortable aid of the holistic approach. Our foremost objective is to address the pain, distress and fear encountered by an ailing individual.
Patients families are given the opportunity to make use of what is available at the hospice to them in terms of support throughout the last periods of their loved ones lives and beyond. A dedicated and specialist trained team are on hand to provide such services.
His Holiness Giriraj Swami
Giriraj Swami project founder and spiritual advisor for Bhaktivedanta Hospice, wanted to focus on the consciousness of people while leaving their body. As a result a 40,000 sq feet Hospice structure was built in the most holy land of Vrindavan. Here along with the medicine, it’s the emotional, psychological and personal relationship that helps people to rise above fear associated with death.
Giriraj Swami was inspired by Archa Vigraha Dasi (Aileen Lipkin) to start this project. Her travels to Vrindavan highlighted the need for such facilities. Giriraj Swami says “Death can be a terrifying, frightening journey into the unknown. We want to help people rise above the gloom, darkness and fear associated with death”
His Holiness Radhanath Swami
The positive influence of Radhanath Swami on the team of Bhaktivedanta Hospital and the team of doctors who have contributed to the Barsana Eye camp has been immense. Radhanath Swami has given the team a sense of purpose in serving the medically deprived people at a very affordable cost. Through his search for the ultimate benefit for the society and his practice he explains to us the importance and purpose of life. Carrying forward the same sense of purpose and inspiration given by Radhanath Swami, the whole hospice movement began to help and reach out all those who are dying in severe in pain, agony, frustration, worry and fear.
Radhanath Swami says “Dying, leaving this world is a very sacred part of life in all great spiritual traditions. People should have the opportunity to leave this world with dignity. In an atmosphere where death is not horrible end of everything. But where we can actually experience in dying the doors to eternal life opening for us”
Facilities and Offerrings
Facilities at Bhaktivedanta Hospice
- Spread over an area of 40,000 square feet.
- 8 single-patient rooms with heating and air-conditioning
- 6 double and triple-patient rooms, air-cooled
- Massage facilities / TENS machine
- Temple and prayer hall
- Mobile temple
- Outpatient clinic
- Garden with Vrindavan theme
Facilities in patient rooms
- Each room covers 575 sq. ft, has two windows and one French window
- Automatic patient bed
- Bathroom that accommodates entire bed
- Writing table with chair
- Small altar
- Bed for attendant
- Chairs and sofas for visitors
- Large storage area for personal belongings
- Intercom, nurse call-bell, Internet connection
- Reverse osmosis drinking water, softened water for uses
- Audio system with one channel for kirtan (spiritual music )and Srila Prabhupada (Founder Archarya of ISKCON) lectures and one channel for live ISKCON temple classes.