SINGAPORE - The HCA Hospice Care, which serves annually more than 3,500 patients and makes about 37,000 home visits, 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 2018 from its previous location in Jalan Tan Tock Seng, also started offering free return transport for patients to their doorsteps from January this year.
This has allowed it to bring in less mobile patients for day hospice care.
A registered charity since 1989, the hospice provides care at home and at its premises, for both live-in patients and those needing day hospice care.
These patients are generally given a prognosis of less than one year to live.
HCA also operates two of the four day hospices in Singapore, serving around 240 clients annually.
At its official opening on Friday (May 10), Minister for Health 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 there by physicians and hospitals.
Said president of HCA Hospice Care, Dr 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."
The hospice provides medical care as well as psycho-social and bereavement support for patients and their caregivers.
The programme for day care patients runs from 10.30am to 3pm on weekdays, and includes recreational activities such as virtual simulation technology, karaoke, art and music therapy and rehabilitation.
One of the patients, Mr Ng Yew Teck, was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to undergo two surgeries as a result. He has been given less than a year to live.
Before the National Cancer Centre Singapore referred him to the hospice in April, the 80-year-old senior had to look after himself at home, until his children returned from work.
He often had to battle bouts of dizziness at home and was in constant fear of falling down.
Mr Ng now enjoys resting and singing karaoke at the hospice.
"I like it here," he said, speaking in Mandarin. "There are people around to take care of me."
Correction note: The story was edited to correct the operating hours of the programme for day care patients.