On the importance of "Die-logues" and getting started early
In 2014, Lien Foundation conducted a survey examining death attitudes and preferences in Singapore that revealed less than 50% of us know of palliative care, and even fewer are comfortable breaching the topic.
Getting educated early and planning for your loved ones can greatly improve their quality of end-of-life care as well as family satisfaction!
We aim to teach you the basics on:
1. Palliative care
2. Initiating conversations about death and care preferences
3. Getting started with Advanced Care Planning (ACP) and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
Links to our partners' sites allow you to begin planning with ease, or find consultants to discuss the matter!
What is Palliative Care?
Knowledge on this is relevant to all ages, not just the aged:
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients and their family members by caring for the "whole-person". It seeks to support the patient throughout the treatment process.
Who is it for?
Contrary to popular belief, palliative care is not just for the elderly. Patients of all ages, from children to the elderly can receive palliative care.
When is it required?
When you have a life-limiting illness (regardless of age) such as;
End-stage kidney, heart or neurological diseases
What are the benefits of palliative care?
Physical benefits: Drugs alleviate their symptoms so they can focus on emotional recovery.
Psychosocial benefits: Patients require great amounts of comfort.
Spiritual benefits: Palliative care provides them hope– through religious purpose, or art appreciation, for example.
Where is it provided?
Via inpatient care - at the hospital or hospice, for patients with more complex needs.
Through daycare - for patients with busier schedule
How can you get palliative care?
Through a doctor's referral, or by directly contacting the Singapore Hospice Council or hospices like Assisi Hospice, Dover Park Hospice, or St Andrew's Community Hospice
How much does it cost?
It varies according to the provider, the patient's condition, and the available subsidies. It may cost up to:
$250-$350 a month for inpatient care before subsidies, but $75-$310 after subsidies
$10-$15 a day for nursing homes/hospices
Why should I care?
As difficult as it may seem, we believe that it is important to start conversations about death early. This is to ensure that we can better understand the health goals of loved ones, and express our priorities so that decisions can be made accurately on our behalf if necessary.
In Singapore, there are a few specific ways to start early planning, ranging from simply initiating conversations with family members to the Advanced Medical Directive (AMD). Refer below for more information!
Misconceptions about palliative care
It is only for people who are dying
Patients can receive palliative care at any stage of a serious illness. The goal of which is to ensure patient comfort throughout the treatment process
Palliative care is only offered in the hospital
Palliative care can be provided at home, in nursing homes, hospices, specialist clinics, general and community hospitals, catering to every patient’s needs.
It means that I have given up on myself
Palliative care is an important step in maintaining quality of life in the face of disease. It does not mean you have given up, but rather chosen to re-evaluate your priorites and values
I will have to give up all my other doctors
You can continue receiving curative treatment while undergoing palliative care. Your healthcare providers including that of palliative care will work closely together in accordance with your wishes.
"We cannot change the outcome, but we can affect the journey" - Ann Richardson
Getting your game plan ready
Every Year, Project Happy Apples hosts an annual public exhibition in conjunction with local players in the palliative health scene.
Our event includes partner booths by Singapore Hospice Council, Singapore Cancer Society and family law firms - participants can look forward to talks by board members, the project's alumni and family lawyers on how to start planning for end-of-life care early.
Moreover, learn about the topic through interactive games and earn a goodie bag at the end of it all!
At Project Happy Apples, we want to help Singaporeans live a life with purpose and have a good death. Prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we replaced our traditional Public Exhibition with a Web Series.
The Web Series featured two medical students, Ethan Maniam and Novia Long, whose experiences in caring for their loved ones until the final moments prove how important it is to treasure every day spent with our loved ones. We also interviewed healthcare professionals in various specialties to learn more about their roles in providing palliative care for their patients.
Oct - Apr per cycle
Our project boasts one of the largest freshman intakes of all NUS MedSoc initiatives, allowing student volunteers to build a sense of camaraderie whilst navigating the delicate topics of mortality and end-of-life care.
Medical students are grouped into teams and assigned palliative patients for home visits or ward visits or online befriending due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the supervision of healthcare staff, they gain the chance to follow patients on their final journey to better serve their patients in the future.
Image by israel palacio
Image by israel palacio
Slice of Life Podcast
Monthly upload - Oct ~ March
We are launching a podcast! Our goals are:
Normalise conversations about death, caregiver burnout, bereavement, and end-of-life planning
Inspire future healthcare professionals to adopt palliative care as an approach rather than a stand-alone discipline
Tune in to recent episode to find out what it takes to provide respite care for caregivers of terminally-ill children.
Kindly Supported By
Any material, information or views expressed are those of Project Happy Apples and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other supporting organisation.