Never too early to talk about palliative care

Attendees participating in interactive SHC Conversation Cards section of SHC PC101

Never too early to talk about palliative care

Find out more about end-of-life care matters at the Palliative Care 101 Course conducted by Singapore Hospice Council.

There is no doubt that it is uncomfortable to talk about death and dying. Such conversations are avoided or put off until one encounters a life-limiting illness. According to a 2019 nationwide study carried out by Singapore Management University1, 53% of Singaporeans are comfortable discussing issues concerning their own death, but only 1 in 3 respondents were comfortable discussing death with someone with a life-threatening illness. As part of its ongoing efforts to raise awareness for quality palliative care and to normalise end-of-life dialogues, Singapore Hospice Council (SHC) launched the Palliative Care 101 (PC101) course in English and Mandarin for members of the public.

Invited PC101 session with Pallipals x Project Gift of Song students

The free course aims to educate attendees on the multidisciplinary aspects of palliative care in Singapore and encourage people to begin thinking about their own attitudes towards death and their willingness to converse with family or loved ones. The course also addresses myths and misconceptions, such as the cost of hospice care and when to engage palliative services. Participants will walk away with a more holistic understanding of what quality palliative care is and practical tips on starting die-logues with friends, family, and members of their community.

Since its launch, SHC has partnered with organisations such as Nanyang Polytechnic, Raffles Institution, NUS – Project Happy Apples, Society of Sheng Hong Welfare Services (Life Point) and An-Nur Mosque to spread awareness across different ages and backgrounds. Interested agencies, institutions and corporations can invite SHC’s trained speakers to conduct the talk at their preferred location. Since the launch, more than ten sessions have been conducted and over 400 attendees have completed the course.

A PC101 session at An-Nur Mosque

Participants who wish to play a greater role in advocating for the cause and have completed the PC101 training course are eligible to become SHC Ambassadors.

Ambassadors are encouraged to engage with at least 20 persons over a period of two years, starting end-of-life conversations and sharing about palliative care using SHC Outreach Kits.

Starting conversations with loved ones is the first step towards normalising this taboo topic. A lack of openness on issues surrounding death and dying can lead to compromised care and support at the end of life. SHC hopes to equip Singaporeans with the right knowledge and practical tools to help them think about the matters important to them and what it means to leave well.

The next PC101 session will be held in May 2023. For interested parties, please visit here or follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find out more and sign up for their preferred session.

Photos: Singapore Hospice Council
1SMU study shows Singaporeans are more comfortable discussing end-of-life matters. SMU Newsroom. (2019, October 5). Retrieved February 20, 2023, from https://news.smu. edu.sg/news/2019/10/05/smu-study-shows- singaporeans-are-more-comfortable- discussing-end-life-matters 

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