S1E89: What can be done to help more end-of-life patients fulfil their wish of dying at home?


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Synopsis: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, The Straits Times helps you make sense of health matters that affect you.

In Singapore, deaths happen more in hospitals than in the patients' own homes, even though a Lien Foundation survey conducted back in 2014 had found that many people would prefer to die at home, surrounded by loved ones. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said recently that the government wants to help more people fulfil this wish by boosting palliative care support. Conversations about death and dying are difficult but crucial to understanding a person's end-of-life wishes, as well as the fact that dying is a part of life.

In this episode, ST senior health correspondent Joyce Teo hosts Clinical Associate Professor Alethea Yee, a senior consultant from the Division of Supportive & Palliative Care at the National Cancer Centre Singapore. She was the head of the division before she was seconded to Assisi Hospice to be the Clinical Director in 2018. Dr Yee is also the deputy head of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Supportive & Palliative Care Centre as well as the education director of the Lien Centre for Palliative Care at Duke-NUS.

She asks Dr Yee what can be done to make it possible for more end-of-life patients to die at home if they want to do so. They both talk about the role of day hospices as well as the challenges and some recent developments in the palliative care sector.

This is Part Two of their conversation on palliative care. In the first episode, they discuss what palliative care is about, how it can help a person live well before leaving, and the story of a patient who received the help she needed to fulfil her last wish.

Highlights (click/tap above):

0.52 What can be done to help more patients die at home if they wish to?

3:00 Mindset shift of Singapore's society

5:15 Who can benefit from hospice and daycare services?

6:29 Are people more receptive to day hospice centres?

8:05 Challenges and changes in the palliative care sector

Listen to Health Check Ep 90: What to expect when caring for an end-of-life patient at home: https://omny.fm/shows/health-check-1/health-check-episode-90

Listen to Health Check Ep 88: Preparing for a good death with palliative care: https://omny.fm/shows/health-check-1/let-s-talk-about-palliative-care

Listen to In Your Opinion Ep 9: Let’s talk about death and end-of-life plans: https://omny.fm/shows/in-your-opinion/let-s-talk-about-death

Produced by: Joyce Teo (joyceteo@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis, Penelope Lee and Eden Soh

Edited by: Eden Soh

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1. What can be done to help more home deaths? (00:00:52)

2. Needs of mindset shift in Singapore's society (00:03:00)

3. Who benefits from hospice and daycare services (00:05:15)

4. Are people more receptive to hospice centres? (00:06:29)

5. Challenges in the palliative care sector (00:08:05)

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