Forum: Palliative care at home good to have, but challenging

It is very easy to say we should encourage palliative care at home (MOH to boost palliative care at home, better support caregivers, June 3), but is it realistic?

Home palliative care by family members is challenging. It is not about just feeding and bathing the patient, but also learning how to give medication and handle unexpected medical situations which family members are not trained to do. When family members cannot manage the symptoms, they can be overwhelmed by the unceasing demands.

Families sometimes end up wishing that their loved ones would spend their last days in a hospital bed instead. As death approaches, the lines between home and hospital care can be blurred.

I hope healthcare policymakers can work quickly to improve the experience of dying at home. Greater subsidies for home palliative care would also help.

Sim Joo Geok

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