Reconsider policy for certifying cause of death of those in home care

In addition to the efforts to help Singaporeans with their healthcare expenses, it would be helpful if the Ministry of Health reconsiders certain medical policies that have an adverse psychological impact on caregivers who are looking after their loved ones at home (Chas to be extended to all S'poreans with chronic ailments; and 'Merdeka Generation' to get healthcare help; both published on Aug 20).

Home-care doctors are not permitted to certify the cause of death when their patients die, even though they are aware of the patient's medical history.

A caregiver is given a list of private doctors who can issue a Certificate of Cause of Death to contact. Caregivers can also approach the family doctor who had been attending to the deceased. Many caregivers do not have family doctors because they rely on home-care doctors for medical care.

When a loved one dies, the caregiver may also be so devastated that he may not be in the right frame of mind to keep calling the private doctors on the list to find one who is available.

Lim Fah Kiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2018, with the headline 'Reconsider policy for certifying cause of death of those in home care'. Print Edition | Subscribe