Dean Foundation is a non-profit medical foundation that provides free hospice and palliative care to individuals with irreversible illnesses irrespective of age, race, religion, or socioeconomic status. DEAN is an acronym for the Foundation’s objective: to Dignify and Empower the Ailing and Needy. Dean Foundation is based in Chennai, India and services the state of Tamil Nadu.
Dean Foundation was established in 1998 by Mrs. Deepa Muthaiya and her two friends Mr. K.V.Srinivasan and Mr. K. Aravindan.
The former journalist Mrs. Deepa Muthaiya was deeply inspired by the Sogyal Rimpoche's book: “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”. She was moved by its philosophy of compassionate love, emphasis on care for the dying and the acknowledgement of the futility of denying death or living in terror of it. Mrs. Muthaiya wanted to help individuals die with peace and dignity, but she didn’t know where to start. When a relative, who was a doctor, returned from the U.K. and spoke to her about the Palliative Medicine that was occurring there, the way that she could help the dying revealed itself.
Dean Foundation started work in October 1999. Clinical work began on the 6th of October in 1999, one and a half years after the Trust was registered.
On October 2001, Dean Foundation shifted to a rented house in Kilpauk, Chennai. Free Out-Patient and Home Care Services were established.
On July 1, 2009 “Specialist Palliative and Geriatric Care Out-Patient Clinic” was inaugurated in a collaborative initiative by ONGC and Dean Foundation.
On April 12, 2010 Dean Foundation was given the opportunity to operate in the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children, Chennai, thus becoming the first non-governmental organization to provide hospice and palliative care in the State Government Health sector.
On July 15, 2010 Dedication and Blessing Ceremony for the new Pediatric Palliative Care Centre in the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children was conducted, when the premises was formally taken over by the Trust. A small gathering of friends, donors and volunteers were present along with a few officials from the Government Hospital
For the twelve years of its work Dean Foundation has cared for 1854 patients, of whom 1444 were Cancer patients. The current caseload is 155 patients.
Vision and mission
Dean Foundation was created with the vision to provide an oasis of peace and compassion in the desert of fear and suffering for those who need it most.
The mission of the Foundation is:
- To care for those who are suffering from irreversible diseases—like Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes and Neurological and Kidney diseases—irrespective of age, sex, religion or socioeconomic status
- To relieve pain and suffering
- To support the family during illness and in their bereavement
- To help find meaning in the midst of life's struggles in an unconditional, non-judgemental environment
- To enhance the quality of life
The foundation’s activities are governed through a two-tier system of management and consultancy. The 3-member Board of Trustees represents a mix of medical and managerial expertise. In addition, the trust has a Technical Advisory Committee composed of eminent specialists from different medical, paramedical and professional streams of work. The Committee provides key technical input as needed, contributing to the progress of Palliative Care and Dean Foundation.
Projects and activities
Dean Foundation provides:
- Free quality and compassionate care to patients suffering from irreversible illness and to members of the family in the privacy of their own homes.
- Medical treatment with focus on controlling pain and other distressing symptoms connected with end stage disease.
- Help to meet social, emotional and spiritual needs without discrimination but with love, acceptance and dignity.
- Support to empower the patient and the family by helping them to find strength in themselves and by giving them the knowledge to make informed choices.
- Advice on nutritional requirements.
- Specially trained medical staff who works closely with the patient’s primary care physician, if necessary, to oversee care and treatment.
- Bereavement support to the families
The activities of the organization can be divided into five main categories:
- Home care-based program
- Out-patient program
- Counseling and Bereavement Support
- Advocacy for Palliative Care
The Foundation also runs an awareness program carried out in the Panchayats of Kancheepuram Districts.
Dean Foundation operates in the city of Chennai and the districts of Kancheepuram and Coimbatore. The Foundation reaches the urban and rural poor, and others who require palliative treatment.
Achievements and awards
- "For the Sake of Honour Award“ conferred by Rotary Club of Madras West
- The Children's Hospice International's Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Award for Outstanding Contribution
- Dr. K.S. Sanjivi Award
- Community Welfare Award given by the Governor of Tamil Nadu
- Amended the Narcotic Rules of Tamil Nadu
- First to begin a Rural Outreach Palliative Project in a Government Primary Health Centre in the State of Tamil Nadu
- First to begin a Pediatric Palliative Care centre in the Government Health Care System in Tamil Nadu
- First to call all the Heads of Government of the state Health and Family Welfare for the creation of Policy for the State of Tamil Nadu
Dean Foundation has been directly involved in numerous activities to increase accessibility to palliative care in India. Along with the State government of Tamil Nadu, the Trust was instrumental in amending the Narcotics Act of the State of Tamil Nadu on December 2000. This made Oral Morphine widely available to the doctors in Tamil Nadu, which was crucial in ensuring the relief of patients with terminal illnesses.
Under this new amendment, the Dean Foundation became the first Recognized Medical Institution in the State of Tamil Nadu. This was particularly impressive as the Dean Foundation was only eighteen months old at the time.