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Tender Loving Care | Critical need for supportive services

01:00 AM Nov 12, 2023 IST | Fiaz Fazili
tender loving care   critical need for supportive services
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The cancer journey demands a holistic approach, extending beyond medical treatment to include emotional, social, and practical support. This chapter delves into the crucial role of "Tender Loving Care" (TLC) services for elderly cancer patients, emphasising the need for these services to be seamlessly integrated into healthcare systems.
Physical Challenges:

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Cancer-related pain and fatigue require effective TLC, with regular pain assessments and adjustments in medications. Services like physical therapy, counselling, and nutritional guidance are pivotal in maintaining patients' strength and ability to endure treatment. Assistance with daily living activities, such as transportation and household help, preserves a sense of normalcy.
Emotional and Psychological Challenges:

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Counselling and support groups are vital for elderly patients facing emotional distress. Depression and anxiety triggered by a cancer diagnosis can be addressed through professional mental health services. TLC provides emotional support, respecting dignity and privacy, while also addressing body image concerns.
Daily Living Challenges:

TLC services help patients manage daily chores, ensuring medication adherence and preventing potential drug interactions. Financial and transportation support becomes crucial, especially in regions with limited access to healthcare facilities. The ageing population in UT of JK requires additional TLC services, such as home care and transportation assistance.
Infrastructure Development:

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Addressing the gap in supportive services necessitates investment in infrastructure. Public transportation expansion, counselling centres, and increased availability of home care services are vital. Increased state funding for onco services and reduced healthcare costs contribute to accessibility.
Palliative Care and End-of-Life Support:

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Recognizing the importance of palliative care, hospice, and end-of-life counselling, TLC services offer a compassionate approach. Spiritual and socio-religious counselling plays a significant role in supporting cancer patients and the elderly, addressing holistic well-being and respecting end-of-life care preferences.
Integration into Healthcare Systems:

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TLC services must be seamlessly integrated into healthcare systems, with personalised care plans tailored to individual needs. Multidisciplinary teams, including medical professionals, social workers, mental health experts, and patient navigators, ensure comprehensive support. Patient navigators guide cancer patients through the complex healthcare system.

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As we advance in oncology, providing Tender Loving Care to cancer patients, especially the elderly, remains paramount. Recognizing and addressing their unique needs contribute to a compassionate and effective approach to cancer care. Patients benefiting from TLC services exhibit better treatment adherence, fewer complications, improved survival rates, and a heightened sense of hope and empowerment throughout their cancer journey.

(Dr Fiaz Fazili is a Consultant Surgeon at Mubarak hospital Srinagar and member of the international community cancer prevention and awareness programme and is team leader of the Group campaigning for Not-for-Profit State of Art Cancer hospital in Ut of JK).

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