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“Are you sure your home hospice service is free for all?”
01 October 2015

As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” and we do not expect medical services to be free of charge as the medical professionals have to be paid for their work. HCA Hospice Care sometimes receives sceptical responses from caregivers as they are worried that our “free” services might come with hidden costs.

Denise Seah, 23, a Patient Care Assistant of HCA Hospice Care for three years, supports the psychosocial team and conducts means testing for our patients to ensure the financial aspects are taken care of. At times, she goes beyond helping families who struggles with medical bills to simply offering her presence and a listening ear.

There is still a huge gap between the needs in the community and the resources available. Many caregivers call up to find out more about financial assistance schemes, the purchasing and renting of equipment, or the care giving resources available in the community. The medical team in HCA Hospice Care work together to provide patients and their families with the relevant information and resources that they need based on their personal knowledge, expertise and experiences.

“I strongly support and believe in HCA Hospice Care’s philosophy of keeping our home visitation service free. It’s not because our patients or family members can’t afford our services if we were to charge. Going beyond financial concerns, the kind of work that we do comes from the heart,” says Denise.

The comfort and joy of having a nurse, doctor, medical social worker, or patient care assistant present beside the patient, listening and caring goes beyond monetary remuneration. HCA Hospice Care’s policy of keeping our visitations free shows that the kind of love and care that we offer is not bought, but given graciously out of the kindness of the human spirit.

“While it is true that many patients and caregivers feel relieved whenever we explain that our home visitations are free of charge, I believe that it also adds to the human element of our work. We help one another not for the money, but because we are fellow human beings and each life is precious.”

Denise realizes that above all these, the biggest comfort she can offer is her presence. To be there beside the patients, to listen to what they have to say, to look at them in the eyes and accept them for who they are, and to hold their hand through the last lap of their lives. “People don’t necessarily need a solution, but they need to know that they are not alone,” she says.

The struggles of the job cannot be swept under the carpet. Denise admits that one of the biggest struggles she faces working in a hospice is to acknowledge and accept the feelings of helplessness that patients and their families experience. “At the end of the day, it’s not about what I receive from the job that keeps me going. On the contrary, it is about what I can give on the job that hopefully helps a patient or caregiver feel cared for that matters,” says Denise.

Working in a hospice, Denise witnessed the pain of caregivers slowly losing their loved one to a terminal illness. It motivates her to make every day with her parents count by telling them how much she love them, taking them out to dinners, and celebrating birthdays with them. Denise is currently in her 3rd year of studies, pursuing a degree in social work. It has been a great challenge to juggle her personal life, family life, church commitments, work, and studies all at the same time but passion plays a huge role in this balancing act.

“Always remember to be present in the moment. Don’t let life slip past you because you are worrying too much about tomorrow. Embrace who you are now, what you’re doing now, how you’re living now and to give thanks for the many blessings that surround you.”

Our Patient Care Assistants work behind the scenes each day and is a great pillar of support to HCA Hospice Care. Feel free to drop us an email at communications@hcahospicecare.org.sg to encourage PCAs like Denise! To donate and support HCA Hospice Care in the work we do, you may visithttps://www.hca.org.sg/hospice/volunteers/donation.