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Heroes Among Us
27 June 2017

Liu Yan and Adeline, recipients of the Healthcare Humanity Awards 2017, show us what it means to give from the heart.

FROM LEFT: HCA PRESIDENT DR TAN POH KIANG, ADELINE NGE, LIU YAN, HCA CEO ANGELINE WEE AND HCA DIRECTOR OF NURSING ANGELA TAN.

American singer Gerard Way once said, “Heroes are people who make themselves extraordinary.”

For HCA volunteer Adeline Nge and HCA nurse Liu Yan, both of whom recently received the Healthcare Humanity Awards on 25 April, it was the motivation to make a difference that compelled them to go the extra mile in serving the community.

Since 2004, the Healthcare Humanity Awards have been presented to exemplary healthcare workers who have demonstrated the willingness to go beyond their call of duty to provide care to the infirm and sick. Last year, the Awards were expanded to include the Volunteer and Caregiver categories, on top of the existing Open and Intermediate Long-Term Care Sector (ILTC) categories.

It was a proud moment for all at HCA when it was announced that Liu Yan and Adeline had won the awards in the Intermediate Long-Term Care Sector (ILTC) category and the Volunteer category respectively.

At the heart of healthcare

Nursing is undoubtedly one of the noblest professions, entailing boundless compassion and generosity from the heart. Palliative care unarguably adds an additional element of challenge — when the focus is no longer on recovery but on improving the quality of life for the remaining days of the terminally ill. “Being a palliative nurse is very challenging,” Liu Yan shares. “We need to face death, pain and sorrow very frequently.”

But the rewards are undeniable. “All the hard work is worth it,” Liu Yan says. “When my work is able to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from life-limiting illnesses and relieve them from physical, emotional and spiritual suffering.”

LIU YAN RECEIVES HER AWARD FROM GUEST-OF-HONOUR AND PATRON OF THE COURAGE FUND,
DR TONY TAN KENG YAM.

Liu Yan, who has been a nurse with HCA for the last two years, conducts five to six home visits a day to provide care for HCA’s patients. Her duties include assessing the patients’ condition, managing symptoms, equipping families with caregiving skills — but she often goes far beyond her clinical duties to lend a helping hand to her patients and their loved ones.

When one of her patients, an elderly man in his 70s, expressed his wish to visit Sentosa again, Liu Yan took it upon herself to work with HCA volunteers to organise a half-day tour of the island, generously forking out for the expenses from her own pocket.

“Being able to bring them comfort in their final days and fulfill their wishes gives me great joy and a sense of satisfaction,” Liu Yan shares.

The gift of time

Volunteerism is one of the best ways to give a part of ourselves back to society, to impart the most priceless of gifts — time. For Adeline Nge, who has been tirelessly volunteering with HCA for the last four years, giving her time brings forth much happiness.

She juggles her volunteering commitments with her full-time job as a human resource professional, waking up at the crack of dawn on Tuesdays and Fridays to purchase groceries with another volunteer before arriving at the HCA Day Care Centre to help in preparations for lunch for HCA’s day care patients before leaving for work at 8.30am.

ADELINE WITH VOLUNTEER-LEADER ANSON NG.

“I was inspired by Anson, one of HCA’s long-time volunteers,” Adeline shares. “Despite his busy schedule, he has always made the effort to contribute his time and donate to bring joy to patients and help to improve their last journey.

“I have learnt from him that ‘no time’ is not an excuse — it is all about how we prioritise our time. This has motivated me to spend some of my time to do meaningful things.”

Apart from helping out with meal preparations, Adeline also makes the effort to visit HCA’s patients at their homes on weekends, extending her friendship to those living in isolation. She recounts her befriending experience with one of the patients: “We visited a Malay lady who lives alone, without family,” Adeline says. “She is happier than before and will look forward to weekends where we would bring her out to have a simple halal meal.”

“When these small acts of kindness bring so much joy to her, I feel the time I spent volunteering is all worth it.”

It is the efforts of people like Liu Yan and Adeline that continue to propel the home hospice cause forward and imbue love and compassion within HCA’s work.