Palliative Care: What You Need To Know
Why the need for Palliative Care?
When a loved one is diagnosed with a life threatening illness, long-term care and support are needed to manage complex conditions as the illness progresses.
Palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improves quality of life for patients and their family members by caring for the “whole-person” physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Palliative care seeks to support the patient throughout the treatment process.
In Singapore, the term “palliative care” and “hospice care” are used interchangeably.
How can Palliative Care help?
Palliative Care brings comfort and healing through:
- Pain & symptom control
- Financial counselling
- Emotional support
- Grief and bereavement support
- Caregiver training
- Facilitating conversations to achieve patient care goals
- Guidance for family complex decision making & planning
A multidisciplinary team, consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, counsellors, and trained volunteers, will deliver the services.
Who can benefit from Palliative Care?
Patients of all ages, from babies to the elderly, can benefit from palliative care, if they have life-threatening illnesses such as:
- Advanced cancer
- Chronic illnesses including end-stage kidney, heart, lung and neurological failure.
Where is Palliative Care provided?
Palliative care can be provided at home, in nursing homes, hospices, specialist clinics, general and community hospitals, catering to every patient’s needs. Services provided include home care, day care, inpatient care and consultative services.
How can I receive Palliative Care?
Your doctor can make a referral to a palliative care service. Seek advice from your doctor on the type of palliative care services most suitable for you or your loved ones..
How are Palliative Care services kept affordable?
Costs are kept affordable through various subsidies and financial schemes.
Government subsidy is available through means-testing. The level of subsidy is determined by the household monthly income
per person. In addition, Medisave can also be used for palliative care services.
Please seek advice from your healthcare provider. If there are any financial concerns, ask to speak to a social worker.
Where do I start?
Palliative care starts with conversations. Let your loved ones know today your thoughts on these important life topics:
- Personal beliefs
- Care preferences
Discuss palliative care with your doctor even in the early diagnosis of a serious illness. Palliative care can work in conjunction with your current treatment for symptom control. In advanced stages of illnesses, ask your doctor for advice and if necessary, a referral to palliative care.
Palliative care is not provided only at the very end. It is most effective when there is sufficient time to discuss and understand the patient’s values, beliefs and care goals and work towards achieving them