Forum: More flexibility needed for families to visit loved ones in hospitals, care homes before they die

The suspension of in-person visits to hospital wards and residential care homes has been extended until April 3 (In-person visits to hospitals, residential care homes suspended till April 3, March 18).

Hospitals and homes have the discretion to allow visits in exceptional cases, which include patients who are critically ill.

But I hope the rules can be adjusted to allow all family members to be by the side of critically ill patients and residents in their final moments, without needing special permission to be granted.

I understand that it is in the interest of staff and patients or residents for visitation rules to be strict.

But some provisions should be made especially when critically ill patients want to see their loved ones before they die.

On March 5, the day my father died, I had to plead with a nurse many times over the phone to allow three family members to be at his bedside.

Time was wasted as first, the nurse had to seek permission from her nurse manager, and then we had to register in one area of the hospital before rushing to a different building where my father's ward was located.

By then, it was too late; my father had died before seeing us for the last time.

Prior to that day, I had on three occasions asked the doctor attending to my father for permission to let three family members see my father should his condition worsen.

I was told that they would check and get back to me, but they never did.

Colin Ting Fook Mun

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.