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Being a Patient Care Assistant
21 August 2014

Denise Seah from our Woodlands Satellite Centre, shares more about her work and what keeps her going.


What gives an ordinary person strength to live through the grind of the everyday? Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us do great things, but we can do small things with great love”.

I work as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) and my fundamental role is to provide assistance to my fellow colleagues, as well as the families of HCA’s patients, whenever possible. We PCAs cover a wide range of duties – from conducting the means test, to setting up the caregiver training room, to welfare duties like maintaining the pantry for the satellite centres.

We often are the first to make contact with patients’ families – the first to encounter the distress of overwhelmed caregivers heavy-laden with the conflicting demands of being employee, spouse, parent, child and caregiver, all at the same time.

At that point, we take up another role – providing emotional support, advice and reassurance to distressed families, listening patiently to their concerns, and answer their many inquiries.

Additionally, we play an important role in attaining government funding for our nurses’, doctors’ and medical social workers’ visits. It is our duty to explain to patients and families how government funding for our home hospice service is reliant on the means test. We then follow up by assisting the household in completing the Means Test Declaration Form.

Simply by having an open heart, a listening ear, and a ready pair of hands to serve, we can make small differences that go a long way to making someone’s day.

When I introduce myself as a hospice staff, the most common question posed to me is whether it is depressing to work in such a field. Unfortunately, many still have the misconception that an individual’s last days are a dark period, and that death is a taboo topic which cannot be addressed.

Truth is, it is always a tremendous privilege to meet each patient and their family. In spite of the little we might have to offer, we give our one hundred per cent to ensure that the patient lives with a sense of dignity and leaves with a peace of mind.

Working in a hospice, we see people from all walks of life, in all kinds of circumstances facing the same issue: the impending death of a loved one. In this regard, I’ve learned to really appreciate my own life- my health, my friends, my family, my colleagues.

You could regard every day as an ordinary day, or you could live it as another extraordinary day to spend with the people you treasure most.

Have words of encouragement for Denise, or any of the behind-the-scenes heroes of our organisation? Tell us at communications@hcahospicecare.org.sg, or post a message on our Facebook Timeline.