Improve awareness of palliative care

It is disheartening to know that there is a lack of public awareness when it comes to palliative care ("Offer coverage for end-of-life care: Experts"; Oct 15).

A survey last year among 200 doctors and 425 nurses also found that about six in 10 doctors and four in 10 nurses said their basic training did not prepare them to handle patients with life-threatening diseases ("Docs, nurses struggling with palliative care"; June 19, 2014).

It is important that doctors spend unhurried time to talk through the options with patients and their family members.

Whenever I visit a hospital, I see medical students rushing around.

I understand that time is precious, but it makes me wonder if they talk to patients about palliative care in the same way - skimming through insurance and affordability issues and ticking off boxes on their checklist of things to discuss with patients.

Doctors, nurses and medical students - and not just palliative care experts - need to be better educated on palliative care and keep abreast of developments in the field.

There also needs to be greater public education and awareness on palliative care and hospices.

Barry Moses Koh Quan Ren, 18, full-time national serviceman


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2015, with the headline 'Improve awareness of palliative care'. Print Edition | Subscribe