Include funeral parlours at Woodlands Health Campus

I welcome the announcement that Ren Ci Hospital will operate a new nursing home at an upcoming health campus in Woodlands (Ren Ci's third nursing home to be at Woodlands Health Campus, Sept 29).

This move will build upon a new model of care that will see on-site acute and community hospitals, specialist outpatient clinics and long-term care facilities like a hospice integrated into a comprehensive ecology of care.

The Woodlands Health Campus serves as a hub that fosters health promotion, engages patients with the larger resident communities and seamlessly connects them to community care providers in the northern part of Singapore. For a rapidly ageing population like Singapore, this is a much-needed development.

The Silver Generation Office under the Agency for Integrated Care should also consider situating one of its satellite offices at this health campus to ensure a more robust integration of health and social support services.

We should also include space for the provision of funeral parlours.

This will not only take funeral parlours away from industrial estates, but also integrate death care services as part of our present care and support networks and initiatives.

This can be done as part of a pilot scheme in collaboration with funeral parlour operators and, if successful, could extend to major public hospitals in Singapore.

Funeral homes in South Korea are located within the premises of hospital establishments, providing efficient services and a practical one-stop avenue to meet the needs of the grieving.

In land-scarce Singapore, this will be a sustainable and wise move.

More importantly, it will reshape attitudes and mindsets towards our relationship with the dead and reframe our understanding of death care and dignity as an extension of healthcare, as well as part of a comprehensive ecology of care.

Chen Jiaxi

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2019, with the headline Include funeral parlours at Woodlands Health Campus. Subscribe