It can now do blood transfusions and plans to increase bed capacity
INSTEAD of having to send patients to acute hospitals for blood transfusions, Dover Park Hospice (DPH) now has the capability to carry them out. The equipment and trained staff were introduced two weeks ago as part of the hospice’s plan to improve its care and meet the needs of the growing number of people with long-term debilitating diseases.
This was announced yesterday as the hospice welcomed former deputy prime minister Tony Tan as its first patron. DPH, which has waiting lists of anything from two to 10 patients, also announced its plans to increase its number of beds from 40 to 50, and introduce better isolation wards for patients who are confused or who have illnesses caused by multi-resistant bugs. And if there is a need, the hospice will also consider satellite hospices in other parts of the island.
These moves are to meet the challenges of increasing demand for hospice services as Singapore’s population ages rapidly. Elaborating on the expansion, DPH chairman Lionel Lee said: “We will be able to reach out to more terminally ill patients within and outside DPH to offer more and better palliative services.” In his speech, Dr Tan, who is also chairman of The Straits Times’ parent company Singapore Press Holdings, said he was heartened by the hospice’s efforts to meet Singaporeans’ evolving end-of-life needs.
He added that death and dying are sensitive topics that are not often talked about in Asian culture. “We need to increase public awareness of terminal illnesses and end-of-life matters. Singaporeans and families should think not only about life goals, but also care goals - what treatment they would like to receive from health-care professionals - not just at the end of life but at all disease stages,” he said. Calling this advanced care planning, Dr Tan said everyone has a role to play. “The process can be initiated by health-care professionals across the primary care, hospital and long-term care sectors. All of us can complement these efforts,” he said.
Dr Tan, who opened DPH in April 1997, returned yesterday as its first patron, to unveil its new logo. The logo, comprising a circle and a dove in teal, sky blue and grey, was created by DP Architects. Explaining its significance, Ms Angelene Chan from the firm said while the circle represents the circle of life, it is not
enclosed, allowing the dove to fly to the next realm with hope and dignity. Since its inception almost 20 years ago, DPH has cared for more than 7,500 end-stage patients. Today, there are eight hospices - all of which run on public donations - serving 5,000 patients a year.
DPH, Assisi Hospice, Bright Vision Hospital and St Joseph’s Home and Hospice are currently the only full-time, inpatient hospices in Singapore. All four are voluntary welfare organizations which depend on public donations, with subsidies from the Government, as their primary source of funding.