New daycare centre for the terminally ill gives them support, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

New daycare centre for the terminally ill gives them support

This article is more than 12 months old

Mr Peter Taye, 78, was diagnosed with prostate cancer about three years ago.

"I wanted to end my life... I kept asking, 'Why did it have to happen to me?'" he said yesterday.

But his life has brightened considerably with the aid of his wife, who encouraged him to try new things, one of which was joining Dover Park's palliative daycare service for patients with terminal illness and their caregivers.

The facility, which began operations in April, was officially opened yesterday.

It is one of just three palliative daycare services listed by the Singapore Hospice Council.

The daycare is free and provides free transport and meals for its patients.

Mr Timothy Liu, chief executive officer of Dover Park Hospice, which runs the daycare, said the service is funded by the Ministry of Health and the hospice. The latter funds the daycare through donations.

Mr Liu said: "Daycare is an important aspect of palliative care, and it is subsidised to ensure it is affordable to patients who will benefit from it."

Located in Novena, the centre runs on a referral basis for patients with advanced illnesses, are functionally able to tolerate a transfer to daycare and have care needs that can be met in a hospice daycare.

It takes up to 10 patients a day now, with plans to expand its services to 30 patients by 2021.

Dover Park Hospice medical director Ong Wah Ying said palliative daycare differs from other eldercare centres as the therapists are trained to look out for the psycho-emotional well-being of patients.

Therapy sessions are used to assess and support patients, who can call a hotline for support after office hours.

Mr Taye, who used to volunteer at an old folks' home, said: "I used to see old people sitting at a table staring at a wall... But when I came and saw all the services they have here, how different it is, it really changed my outlook... I feel the warmth here."

Patients at the centre can take part in volunteer-led activities such as mahjong, card games and gardening, as well as therapist-led activities such as art and music, and physiotherapy.

Dover Park Hospice's chairman Robert Chew said the activities are designed to help patients live their lives to the fullest.

"This will help them have a sense of being valued and restore dignity to their lives," he said.