SINGAPORE - Over the next three years, the Health Ministry will be working with the Singapore Hospice Council to improve the way people are cared for at the end of their lives.
This quality improvement project will plug "existing service gaps and seek to upskill providers to meet the national guidelines", said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who is sharing details for the first time on the initiative, which was mentioned at the committee of supply (COS) debate in March this year.
The two agencies are also planning to get people talking about end-of-life care at an earlier stage, added Mr Gan at the Asia Pacific Hospice Conference on Thursday (July 27).
This means engaging people in such conversations at the polyclinic or during outpatient appointments at a hospital specialist.
"We aim to reach out to 100,000 Singaporeans over the next four years," Mr Gan said.
The hospice council will also be developing info kits on various topics related to end-of-life care, such as the importance of advance care planning or making advance medical directives.
Separately, two of the healthcare clusters - the Eastern Health Alliance and National Healthcare Group - will be designing palliative care programmes for non-cancer patients.
While palliative care for those with cancer is relatively established, non-cancer patients have different needs. The two groups aim to serve around 3,000 patients in total over the next five years.
"These new programmes aim to enable our patients requiring palliative care to be cared for at home through a comprehensive care package that includes both social support and medical care," Mr Gan said.