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Three Perspectives of Silver: Part III
16 June 2014

“The road ahead is hard work, but the blessings are very great.”

Rounding off this three-part series (see Part I and Part II) is Dr Seet Ai Mee. Dr Seet was President of our council for 12 years until March this year. She played an instrumental role in the expansion and development of HCA Hospice Care, and will be sorely missed.

Here, she speaks of HCA Hospice Care – our past, and what comes ahead.

“One of the first things I was tasked to do was what in the private sector we called change management. We had to get ourselves from the negative side to the positive side of a ledger.

Thankfully, within thirteen months, we managed to turn the organisation around with the help of volunteers coming in from the private sector to train and mentor leaders in our organisation. I am very grateful to these volunteers who helped us.

At that point, we were fine, but I’m a person who just can’t sit still. It had become very obvious to me by then that home care is about hospice in the community. Our staff were travelling long distances to get to their patients’ homes. It wasn’t efficient, and we weren’t visible.

So, we started our hospice in the community programme, placing satellite centres in the different corners of Singapore. The next phase is to build more day care centres. Being with others who have the same condition uplifts our patients’ spirits – they don’t feel as alone and can share their experiences with each other.

From there, we developed further and began to think about imparting the hospice knowledge into the younger generation with the yCG programme. It took a lot of work, but it’s been very successful.

DR SEET, SHAKING HANDS WITH MR LIM BOON HENG AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE JURONG SATELLITE CENTRE IN 2009.

I think the biggest challenge now would be to get working with the doctors in the community. I think eventually all general practitioners will have to get involved in palliative care.

Manpower problems also will be with us for a long time. However, the people who come to work in palliative care are very special nurses and doctors. We will continue to draw in staff not just because they want to work, but because they have a caring heart.

We will need to draw on the community for its volunteerism so that we can continue to grow and reach out...This is because we are of the community and I believe the community will come to us.

We will need to draw on the community for its volunteerism so that we can continue to grow and reach out. This is something we can do that neither the public nor the private hospitals can do. This is because we are of the community and I believe the community will come to us.

The message I have to give to our own staff is: thank you; you have worked very hard over the years, and keep on working hard! The road ahead is hard work, but the blessings are very great.

As for a message to our volunteers, I would really like to thank you. You are wonderful. Without you, HCA would never have gotten out of its rut, and it would never be what it is today.

I was a volunteer, and you came along beside me.”

Dr Seet Ai Mee is one of three of HCA’s founding figures who were featured in this three-part series. Find out what Sister Geraldine and Dr Cynthia Goh had to say in the last two issues.