for the Dying
Ganga Prem Hospice, Rishikesh, India
Copyright © 2011 End Of Life Care International. All Rights Reserved.
End of Life Care International has chosen as its first project to support Ganga Prem Hospice in the town of Rishikesh near the Ganga River in India.
Ganga Prem Hospice is a spiritually orientated, non-profit hospice that offers its many services to terminally ill cancer patients free of charge. The Hospice provides medical, social, emotional and spiritual support for the cancer patients—and their loved ones—as they face this life threatening disease and all challenging circumstances that come with it.
Dr. A K Dewan is the Medical Director of Ganga Prem Hospice and the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Center in Delhi and one of the top oncological surgeons in India. He has conducted over 13,000 surgeries in his career.
Patients flock to have his consultations not just because of the high level of expertise that he possesses in his very specialized work, but also because of his empathy and innate goodness. As an unusually dedicated oncologist, his life is totally devoted to prevention, detection and treatment of the disease.
Nani Ma is one of the guiding forces of Ganga Prem Hospice and is responsible for the spiritual leanings of the hospice project. Born and brought up in England, she spent the majority of her life on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh with her guru until his Nirvana in 1987. She now lives in a small ashram near Uttarkashi.
Years of austerity and meditation have awakened a compassion in Nani Ma that has inspired her to become part of the Ganga Prem Hospice project and to help it by sharing her love and insight with terminally ill patients and their families at the most difficult time of their lives. She feels, as do the ancient scriptures of all religions, that death is not an end but a transition which can be met with fearlessness and peaceful anticipation rather than turmoil and sorrow.
End of Life Care
Dr. Taranjit Singh is the Chief Medical Officer and the attending palliative care physician at GPH. He had worked in a wide range of notable medical institutes and hospitals prior to joining our Hospice in 2019. Dr. Singh has a Master's degree in palliative medicine from Cicely Saunders Institute at Kings College, London and has more than fifteen years of clinical experience in palliative care.
He is now a vital—even indispensable—member of the Hospice team, noted for his enormous compassion and loving care for the patients. The professional palliative care team includes cancer specialists, general practitioners, non-allopathic specialists and therapists, who are either full-time/part-time staff or volunteers. Dr. Singh’s staff addresses medical as well as administrative matters, all in complete devoted service to the patients.
The Home Care Program brings services to terminally ill cancer patients in their own homes, providing medical, social, emotional and spiritual support to the patient and their families. Visits by GPH staff are carried out six days a week in Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun by one or more of the following: palliative care doctor or nurse, complementary therapist, or counsellor.
GPH holds a Cancer Clinic in Rishikesh on the last Sunday of every month. Oncologists and palliative care specialists give free consultations and counselling to approximately 90 patients at each clinic. Most patients who come to the clinic are from lower income brackets and very much need the generous care.
The patients are treated in a holistic manner that respects their dignity as individuals and which surrounds them with the best possible care environment.
Ganga Prem Hospice is unique in the sense that it provides two crucial aspects that are often otherwise neglected in a hospice setting: spiritual support and a holistic and complete medical treatment that meets the many needs of a dying patient. Eminent oncologists and palliative care specialists have joined with spiritual seekers and holistic therapists to assist in alleviating the physical and emotional pain of cancer patients and their grieving families, and in this way Ganga Prem Hospice is a rare and valuable combination of both excellent medical care and skilled and loving spiritual support.
The Hospice facility was inaugurated on March, 2017 and is located at the foot of the Himalayas on the Ganges (Ganga) River bank near Raiwala, between Rishikesh and Haridwar. In this beautiful and serene setting, the Hospice staff endeavors to create a safe and supportive environment in which patients and relatives can be assisted in coming to terms with the difficulties involved in an impending death.
The Hospice offers terminally ill cancer patients first-class medical facilities with a choice of allopathic and non-allopathic treatments. The staff includes cancer specialists, palliative care specialists, visiting professionals from holistic care systems and a variety of other health care professionals such as physiotherapists, dieticians and specialists in complementary medicine techniques including massage, yoga and aromatherapy etc.
Currently the hospice has 15 beds while 10 more are planned in a future West Wing. The hospice has a temple, library, a meditation and prayer room as well as a T.V. and recreation room, kitchen and canteen, and staff and volunteer quarters. The Hospice has mortuary facilities.
All the services at the hospice are completely free for the patient and one caregiver, and sleeping arrangements and food at a very nominal price are also offered to any extra members of the family or friends who wish to stay near the patient. Round the clock care is provided to the patients by this marvelous team of doctors, nurses, therapists and counsellors. Daily massage and periodically other complementary therapies, free laundry service, and daily counselling support are provided.