Newsletter: November 2021
What is palliative care?
Palliative care can be provided to anyone at any time during a person’s illness. It may last a few weeks, months, or even years.
Usually, the main goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and his/ her family. A multi-disciplinary team including doctors, nurses, social workers, allied health therapists, as well as volunteers will work together with the family to reduce symptom burden and physical distress, alongside support for emotional and social impacts of living with the illness.
Who can benefit from palliative care?
Any person who has a serious, chronic or life-limiting conditions may benefit from palliative care. Some examples of such conditions include cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease, organ failure and Alzheimer’s.
How to get started with palliative care services?
Always discuss with the doctor to find out the most suitable option for each individual. Palliative care services can be provided:
- at home
- in nursing homes
- in hospice
- at specialist clinics
- general or community hospitals
How is palliative care provided at home?
Depending on the needs of the individual, home visits can be arranged once a week, fortnightly or once every month.
The palliative care team can provide medical and nursing care such as physical assessment and health check, medication management and symptom relief. They can also provide training for caregivers and educate patients and their families on ways to manage their symptoms. Caregivers experiencing stress, anxiety, and fear can also seek emotional and spiritual help from the team during this trying period.
You can understand more about palliative care at home on https://www.metta.org.sg/medical-care/
Discussing care goals and end-of-life with your loved ones
Many of us avoid the topic of death as we often see it as a taboo topic. But it is important to communicate and discuss with your loved ones about their healthcare preference, goals and values, finances and even wishes.
- Plan ahead, learn about his/her preference. This will help you to make better decision to care for them when they are no longer able to.
- Discuss on the final care with your family members openly and honestly so that everyone can share the responsibilities.
- Try to get your loved one to take the lead in discussing the death topic. Be patient and understanding. Do not force them if they do not wish to discuss.
- Reminiscing about beautiful memories from the past may help you and your loved ones appreciate the good times you have spent together.
- Try to communicate more and openly to avoid misunderstanding and disagreement. This will keep each other in the family updated of the loved ones’ condition and wishes.
- Studies have shown that discussing values and preferences on end-of-life care with the loved ones could help to ease the grief and bereavement journey.
You can also visit the Singapore Hospice Council at https://singaporehospice.org.sg/livewell-leavewell/ to learn more about “Live well. Leave Well” and its available resources on palliative care support.
Financial support & community resources
Healthcare in Singapore is kept affordable with government subsidies. There are various financial assistance schemes to help you with the cost of providing care for your loved ones.
You can find out more about the available schemes from https://www.aic.sg/financial-assistance/