1. Are hospices evaluated and regulated by the government?
Yes, all hospice services (including home care, day care and in-patient care) are licensed under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act 1980, Chapter 248. The Ministry of Health also audits the services that it subsidizes.
2. Do hospices make death come sooner?
Hospice and palliative care, according to the World Health Organization’s 1990 definition, “neither hastens nor postpones death”. It focuses on maximizing quality of life and achieving the patient’s own goals in the time that remains.
3. How successful are the pain management techniques used in hospice and palliative care?
In over 90% of cases, cancer pain can be controlled using simple methods advocated by the World Health Organization. Sometimes, some pains are complex and require the involvement of a multidisciplinary team, which hospice services have access to. Apart from oral medications, other techniques involving injections to block nerves or delivery of pain medications by other routes may be involved. A change in lifestyle, physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture may also have a place.
4. Is hospice and palliative care available 24 hours?
Different hospice services have different operational hours. In-patient hospices have medical and nursing staff available around the clock. Hospice day care services operate only during normal working hours. Hospice home care services have staff covering calls at nights and on weekends and public holidays. These staff can give advice over the telephone and visit, if necessary, during an emergency.
For more information, please refer to Providers & Services in Singapore
5. What should we do if we are unhappy with the care provided by the hospice professionals?
You can speak to the person in charge of the professional team about what you find unsatisfactory, and explain your concerns and preferences. The hospice team will try their best to accommodate your requests within their resources.
6. What can I do as a hospice volunteer?
All the hospices are Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) which are run by management committees made up of volunteers. Hospices also rely on volunteers who may be required to deal with patients in advanced stages of diseases and their families, all of whom may be in a lot of emotional distress. Hence, volunteers with different skills and contributions (in management, finances, legal advice, human resource development and fund-raising) are always welcome.
7. How do I become a hospice volunteer?
If you wish to volunteer, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator of the respective hospice.