Ishpremalaya: Palliative Care Hospice

Palliative Care Hospice for Terminally ill Cancer Patients

“The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart."
--Nikolai Lenin

Background of the Organisation:

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod is an apostolic religious institute, which is international and of Pontifical Right. It was founded by Mother Claudine Echernier and Father Peter Mermier in the year 1938 in France with an ardent desire “to make the good God known and loved.” The founders believed that God calls each one in a special way to dedicate one’s life to the service of humanity. Empowered with God’s passion for His people and enlivened with the richness of the heritage, the Sisters of the Cross have become deeply conscious of the significance of their mission in today’s world with its enormous developments and conflicting situations.

In India, the Sisters of the Cross live their consecration to God at the service of all people in 7 different Provinces. Pune province covers the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.

The present works of the Sisters of the Cross are:

  • Formal and non formal education for social transformation.
  • Empowerment of women, children, tribal and other marginalized people.
  • Health service with special focus on holistic health through health education, mobile clinic, dispensaries, hospitals, alternative medicine and palliative care.
  • In all our works we foster ecological responsibility in the judicious use of the earth’s resources.
  • The sisters look upon humanity and the entire creation with love, respect and hope.


Background concept of the Project:

The Sisters of the Cross in the Province of Pune have been rendering dedicated service to provide Palliative care to the Terminally-ill cancer Patients for the past 25 years in Goa and in Pune. Both these centers are managed by different organizations. Foreseeing the difficulty of the people suffering from cancer in the remote areas of the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, the sisters made a survey to study the situation of reaching out to these people. The findings were pathetic. With the escalating number of cancer patients among the poor and economically backward people of the surrounding villages of the district, the sisters perceived the need of Palliative care as their urgent concern in this District. After the experience of caring for the terminally-ill cancer patients for several years, the sisters have an earnest desire with all their resourcefulness to build their own Hospice for the terminally-ill cancer patients and reach out to the them in the remote villages where the poor and the most needy patients will be particularly cared for during the last days of their life.

Need of the Project:

Cancer has become one of the ten leading causes of death in India. Over 7 lakh new cases of cancer and 3 lakh deaths occur annually due to cancer. Nearly 15 lakh patients require facilities for diagnosis, treatment and follow up at a given time. Data from population-based registries under National Cancer Registry Programme indicate that the leading sites of cancer are oral cavity, lungs, esophagus and stomach amongst men and cervix, breast and oral cavity amongst women. Oral cancers are directly attributed to the use of tobacco and its by products to the cause of oral cavity and lung cancer in India. There is an alarming rise in number of childhood cancer in India relative to the developed world; it becomes necessary to concentrate on children suffering with cancer.

It is found that cancer patients are suffering for want of care and it is also a problem for their family and the relatives as they are unable to provide the required care. Thus Palliative Care Centre becomes imperative. With a view to take care of such people, it is proposed to establish a Hospice for terminally ill cancer patients at Sawantwadi, Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra State, India.

“Adding life to the days, not days to the life”

A Brief Introduction to Palliative Care and Pain Treatment

Palliative care seeks to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing life-limiting illness. Unlike curative healthcare, its purpose is not to cure a patient or extend his or her life. Palliative care prevents and relieves pain and other physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems. As a quote by Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the first modern hospice and a lifelong advocate for palliative care, on the wall of a palliative care unit in Hyderabad, India, proclaims: palliative care is about “adding life to the days, not days to the life.” The World Health Organization recognizes palliative care as an integral part of healthcare for cancer that should be available to those who need it. While palliative care is often associated with cancer, a much wider circle of patients with health conditions that limit their ability to live a normal life can benefit from it including patients with dementia, heart, liver or renal disease, or chronic and debilitating injuries.

One key objective of palliative care is to offer patients relief from pain. Chronic pain is a common symptom of cancer as well as various other health conditions. Moderate to severe pain has a profound impact on quality of life. Persistent pain has a series of physical, psychological, and social consequences. It can lead to reduced mobility and consequent loss of strength; compromise the immune system; and interfere with a person’s ability to eat, concentrate, sleep, or interact with others.

A WHO study found that people who live with chronic pain are four times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. The physical effect of chronic pain and the psychological strain it causes can even influence the course of disease: as the WHO notes in its cancer control guidelines, “Pain can kill.” Social consequences include the inability to work, care for children or other family members, participate in social activities, and bid farewell to loved ones.

According to the WHO, “Most, if not all, pain due to cancer could be relieved if we implemented existing medical knowledge and treatments”. The mainstay medication for the treatment of moderate to severe pain is morphine. Morphine can be injected or taken orally. It is mostly injected to treat acute pain, generally in hospital settings.

Palliative care is broader than just relief of physical pain. Other key objectives of palliative care include the provision of care for other physical symptoms and psychosocial and spiritual care to both the patient and his/her family.

Factual situation of the Project area:

From the survey conducted in some of the villages of Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra State, the sisters observed that sense of health and hygiene among the villagers are very minimal. The people lack health awareness and education, clean drinking water and wholesome food. The surroundings are unhygienic and superstition is rampant. The existing health system is ineffective and people have to depend upon private practitioners whose exorbitant fees they cannot afford. Tuberculosis, scabies, jaundice and cancer are a common occurrence in the area, compounded by malnutrition which is very evident.

The sisters came across several cases of patients in the terminal stage of cancer. Some of them had visited different medical practitioners who administered short-term relief through pain killers. Poverty prevented some others of availing even this kind of medical assistance. Cases of external manifestations of the disease met with abandonment and loneliness due to the inability of the family to cope with the foul odours and unsightly wounds. Poverty and lack of knowledge about the disease and the care to be given led to their miserable conditions. This was aggravated by the superstitious beliefs associated with the affliction that is prevalent among them.

Some did avail of chemotherapy and radiation treatment but the effects were short-lived. In many cases the families were forced to leave the patients to live their last days in pain and loneliness since they needed to go out to earn their livelihood because a day without work meant a day without food. Only death brought the relief they were in search of.

In all these cases, their last days could be made more endurable if only some medical and human care is made available to them along with counselling and education for the family members.

Project location

The Palliative Care Hospice for Terminally ill Cancer Patients will be located at Nirukh villlage which is in the Sawantwadi Taluka of Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra. The location is at a distance of two and a half kms. away from Sawantwadi town and it is close to the high way from Sawantwadi to Vengurla. The sisters have already purchased 50 Guntas (50,000 sq.ft) of land for the purpose.The place provides easy accessibility to the patients and people of Maharashtra, Goa and other neighbouring States.

Aim of the project:

Construction of Hospice to provide palliative care for the terminally ill cancer patients with a committed and caring team.

Project Objectives:

  • To provide institutional care and support to the terminally ill cancer patients.
  • To create a caring environment for the patients.
  • To relieve them from physical pain and mental trauma.
  • To make available counselling to both patients and relatives.
  • To adopt a holistic approach in palliative care, i.e. addressing the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the patients.
  • To provide diversional therapy to sooth their minds and calm their anxiety.
  • To uphold their right and dignity to life, thus preparing the patients to accept the last journey of their life in total surrender.
  • To network with the government, other NGO”s and local people in the community.

Our Immediate Requirements:





  • 4 x 8 Bedded Wards
  • 10 Self-contained rooms (For serious patients)
  • 1 Administrative Office
  • 1 OPD room
  • 1 Pharmacy
  • 1 Self-contained Doctors’ Room
  • 1 Big Stock Room (for equipment)
  • Prayer Hall
  • Multi-purpose Room
  • Physiotherapy Room
  • Small Counseling Room
  • Kitchen
  • Store Room
  • Dining Room for Nurses
  • 1 x 2-Bed Self-contained Room for Relatives of Patient
  • Garage
  • Driver’s Room
  • Watchman’s Room
  • Morgue
  • 10 Rooms
  • 2 x 4-bed Dormitory
  • 1 x2-bed Room for Working Girls
  • Community Room
  • Dining Room
  • Kitchen
  • Small store-room
  • Wash-room and Toilet (for Guests)
  • Chapel
  • Washing & Drying Room (Clothes)
  • Small Recreation Room

Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, Holy Cross Pune Province

Estimated Budget for the construction of the Hospice is Rs. 5,00,00,000 (Rupees Five Crores)

Services envisioned:

  • Admission of the patients by filling all the admisssion procedures e.g. patient’s history, background, home environment.
  • Observation of patients’ behaviour and providing knowledge about the disease.
  • Winning of their confidence by creating a homely and caring enviornment for the patients by the trained staff members.
  • Administration of timely medicines to relieve them from mental trauma and physical pain.
  • Maintenance of routine time table for the patients’ baths, dressing of the wounds, oral hygiene etc.
  • Provision of nutritional diet as per the needs of the patient.
  • Daily meditation, diversional therapy, counselling and other recreational activities will be provided for the patients.
  • Relatives will be encouraged to visit the patients and to take them home if the patients show improvement and wish to go home.
  • Last wishes of the patients or any other desires will be fulfilled to the extent possible.
  • Staff will be given regular refresher trainings to update and equip them in order to be able to offer optimum care to the patients.
  • Schools, colleges, youth clubs, people from the corporate sectors and the local commmunity will be motivated and encouraged to visit the patients, to entertain them or offer their voluntary services according to their convenience.
  • Birthdays, National days, festivals and other anniversary days will be celebrated.


Resources available

  • Trained and experienced administrator to take up the managerial responsibilities of the Hospice for Palliative Care.
  • Visiting doctors for daily rounds and treatment.
  • Counsellors, therapists, social workers and volunteers to be part of the center.
  • The center will employ highly motivated and dedicated trained staff and other care takers.
  • 24 hours service for the patients.
  • Driver, Security guards, Gardener and Cooks will be employed as per the need.
  • 50 Guntas (5000 sq.ft) of land for the purpose
  • Ambulance for the Patients.


Project Outcome:

  • High quality health care services for the terminally ill cancer patients.
  • Easy accessibility for the admisssion of the patients since this will be the first palliative care Hospice for the cancer patients in Sindhudurg district.
  • Life is affirmed and quality of life is improved
  • Support to patients and family during the course of the disease.
  • Relief from pain ensured and other problems related to the illness addressed
  • Patient die with dignity.
  • Palliative help available to the family after the death of the patient in order to cope with the loss.
  • Increased awareness created in the local community for acceptance, care of the patients and change of belief systems.


Other requirements:

  • Meals for the Patients and the staff.
  • Salaries of the Staff.



Service to humanity is our love offering to God. We believe that no human being should merely exist and wait for death, but must face it with dignity and serenity. Our motto is: “To add life to days and not days to life”. We will hold our patients hands from the beginning to the end, we will offer a listening ear, understand the patients, care with compassion and much more. We will try to alleviate the anxiety of the family by caring for them and helping them to face their loss. This is our earnest desire to reach out to suffering humanity. So let us join our hands together to heal the world and make it a better place to live in. To make this venture a reality, we need your kind co-operation and generous donation. We will be ever grateful to you and assure you that your valuable help will be well utilized in rendering palliative care for the terminally ill cancer patients. Even if you render a part of it, it will be appreciated very much. It takes many hands to keep pain at bay.

Your help and generosity can bring a change a radical change in the society.

Kindly Note: All Cash / Cheque Donations are eligible for Tax benefits U/S 80G of the Income Tax Act. Cheques should be drawn in the name of the "Society of the Sisters of the Cross, Kolhapur - Pune"

Cheques can be mailed to :
Sisters of the Cross,
38, Sasoon Road, Pune - 411 001
Ph: +91 20 26122075

Project in progress... Recent Photos from the site

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