HCA Hospice Care offers free services at new premises

Patients playing games at HCA Hospice Care's new premises at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, which officially opened yesterday. The hospice, which moved from its previous location in Jalan Tan Tock Seng in November last year, has waived charges for all its
Patients playing games at HCA Hospice Care's new premises at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, which officially opened yesterday. The hospice, which moved from its previous location in Jalan Tan Tock Seng in November last year, has waived charges for all its services and also offers free return transport.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

HCA Hospice Care, which serves more than 3,500 patients and makes about 37,000 home visits a year, is waiving charges for all its services with the move to its new premises at Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital in Serangoon Road.

The hospice - which moved in November last year from its previous location in Jalan Tan Tock Seng - also started offering patients free return transport to their doorsteps from January.

A registered charity since 1989, the hospice provides care at home and on its premises for both live-in patients and those needing day hospice care.

These patients generally have a prognosis of less than a year to live.

HCA operates two of the four day hospices in Singapore, serving around 240 clients annually.

At its official opening yesterday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong spoke about the importance of having access to affordable and quality palliative care services.

"By raising the accessibility, quality and affordability of palliative care, we can enable more Singaporeans to spend their last days of life in as much dignity and comfort as possible," he said.

 
 

The hospice is now able to house up to 45 patients.

It sees an average of 30 visiting patients daily, who are referred by physicians and hospitals.

Said HCA Hospice Care president Tan Poh Kiang: "From our new space, we continue to be close to our patients and their families, delivering care directly to their homes. Our mission remains unchanged."

Besides medical care, the hospice provides psycho-social and bereavement support for patients and their caregivers.

The programme for day care patients runs from 10.30am to 3pm on weekdays.

It includes recreational activities such as virtual simulation technology, karaoke, art and music therapy, as well as physiotherapy.

One patient, Mr Ng Yew Teck, was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to undergo two surgical operations as a result. He has been given less than a year to live.

Before the National Cancer Centre Singapore referred him to the hospice last month, the 80-year-old had to look after himself at home every day until his children returned from work.

He often had to battle bouts of dizziness at home and lived in constant fear of falling down.

Mr Ng now enjoys resting and singing karaoke at the hospice.

"I like it here," he said in Mandarin. "There are people around to take care of me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2019, with the headline 'HCA Hospice Care offers free services at new premises'. Print Edition | Subscribe