Palliative Medicine & Supportive Care

Palliative Medicine specialises in pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, supportive care and end of life care. It involves seeing patients with advanced cancer and non-cancer conditions throughout their illness trajectory. It aims to benefit the journey of the patients, through their difficult phases of the illness experience, including the end of life phase. Holistic approach, continuity of care, support, early assessment, symptom management and augmented physical well-being makes the therapeutic experience more acceptable to the patient and their families. It would also determine and allow appropriate person-centred goals of care at various stages of the disease including a dignified, peaceful end of life experience. Apart from cancer, the palliative medicine service also specialises in seeing patients with chronic and advanced organ failures such as chronic heart failure, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic degenerative and vascular neurological conditions, HIV/AIDS etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers on Palliative Care

Palliative care is a medical specialty comprising of a multidisciplinary team who offer medical care to people with chronic and advanced illness. Palliative care relieves suffering and improves quality of life for people of any age, and at any stage of a serious illness, whether that illness is curable, chronic or life threatening. 

1.    Provides relief from pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
2.    Assists you in making difficult medical decisions.
3.    Coordinates care with your other doctors and helps you navigate the often-complex health care system.
4.    Guides you in planning for living well, based on your needs, concerns and goals for care.
5.    Provides you and your loved ones emotional and spiritual support and guidance.

A. Palliative care is provided by a multi-disciplinary team that includes specialist doctors, nurses, social worker, counselor, volunteers and others

Palliative Care is whole-person care that relieves symptoms of a disease or disorder whether or not it can be cured. You can receive palliative care at any stage of a serious illness, whether that illness is potentially curable, chronic or life threatening. Hospice is a specific type of palliative care for people who are likely to have very short life expectancy. In other words, hospice care is always palliative, but not all-palliative care is hospice care.

Your doctors focus on your general health or treating your disease or condition. Palliative care doctors focus on preventing and alleviating suffering and improving your quality of life, and help you and your loved one’s cope with the stress and burden of your illness.

Yes, of course. But palliative doctors have special training and expertise in pain management and symptom control, and specialize in helping patients and their families cope with the many burdens of a serious illness, from the side effects of a medical treatment, to caregiver stress, to fears about the future. Palliative doctors can assist you with difficult medical decisions, helping you weigh the pros and cons of various treatments.

Absolutely. Your palliative doctor coordinates care with your other doctors and helps you navigate the often-complex health care system.

Patients are eligible for hospice care if they have very short time to live (as determined by the treating doctor). Unfortunately, most people don’t receive hospice care until the final days of life, possibly missing out on weeks of helpful care and quality time.

Not at all. The goal of palliative care is to make you comfortable and help you achieve the best possible quality of life. You can have palliative care while you are undergoing treatments that may cure or reverse the effects of your illness. In fact, palliative care can help you cope with aggressive treatments by getting your pain and symptoms under control to help you fight the disease. 

Palliative care can be provided at a hospital, home, an assisted living facility or at hospice. There are a number of ways to find a doctor who specializes in palliative medicine, including asking your doctor to refer you to a palliative doctor. At Kasturba Hospital Manipal, you can contact the Department of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care on the Ground Floor of the Shirdi Saibaba Cancer Centre. 

Addiction to medication prescribed for pain relief is a common fear, but it is seldom seen. Palliative doctors are experts in preventing problems and side effects of strong pain medications. They also can help patients with addictions get pain relief.

Appropriately prescribed medicine will not hasten death. Your palliative doctor has the expertise to devise a medication plan that makes you comfortable, and safe.

Palliative doctors are concerned about you as a whole person – not just the part of you that is sick. We understand that people with serious illnesses can be frightened and unsure of themselves when making medical decisions. We also understand that there is not always one right or wrong answer, and that your needs and your wishes may change over time. Palliative doctors consider all of this when they help you develop your treatment plan.

About Chronic and Interventional Pain

Pain Medicine specialises in appropriate diagnosis and management of different kinds of pain. It aims to provide relief to patients suffering from chronic pain conditions like back pain, neck pain, knee pain, joint pain, neuralgias, nerve pain and chronic post-operative or post-traumatic pain. The Chronic Pain Services at the Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Manipal is a state-of-art pain management centre. It offers a wide range of pain relieving options to help those suffering from chronic intractable pain by managing their pain effectively, reducing the associated suffering and restoring their quality of life. We offer a wide range of evidence-based, minimally invasive pain relieving procedures for both diagnosis and management of pain. Most of these pain interventions are performed under image guidance in full aseptic conditions.

Guiding Principle: Comprehensive, evidence-based, multi-disciplinary and patient-centered management of patients suffering from chronic pain.

Back Pain

• Epidural Steroid Injection
• Facet Joint Injection
• Sacroiliac Joint injection
• Radiofrequency ablation
• Trigger Point Injection
• Nucleoplasty
• Annuloplasty
• Spinal Cord Stimulation

Knee Pain

• Radiofrequency ablation of Genicular nerves
• Intra-articular Platelet rich plasma
• Viscosupplementation

Trigeminal Neuralgia

• Radiofrequency ablation
• Percutaneous balloon compression
• Retrogasserian Glycerol injection

Head and Neck Pain

• Occipital nerve blocks
• Radiofrequency ablation
• Pulsed RF
• Sphenopalatine ganglion block
• Glossopharyngeal nerve block

Cancer Pain

• Celiac Plexus Block and Neurolysis
• Splanchnic nerve radiofrequency ablation
• Superior hypogastric plexus block and neurolysis
• Ganglion Impar block and neurolysis
• Intrathecal pump implantation
• Intercostal nerve block and RF ablation

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

• Sympathetic blocks
• Lumbar sympathetic neurolysis
• Spinal Cord Stimulator

Neuralgias/Nerve Pain

• Nerve block
• Selective nerve root block
• Pulsed RF


Dr. Naveen S Salins

Professor & HOD

Dr. Anuja Damani

Associate Professor

Dr. Krithika Rao

Assistant Professor