There is a common saying that home is where the heart is. In the last 30 years, HCA has had a number of homes, notably beginning from founding member Dr Anne Merriman’s bedroom in 1989.
In 1995, HCA moved into the Hospice Centre at 12 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, a place we called home for the next 23 years. Unified by the same heart to serve and add life to the days of patients with life-limiting illnesses, HCA progressively grew in strength and numbers. With an increase in volunteers, donors and staff, we were able to extend our services to more patients and families.
As the lease at 12 Jalan Tan Tock Seng came to an end in 2018, it was time to relocate and relook into our service offering at the same time. In line with our move to Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH), we waived all fees for our Day Hospice services, which means that all of HCA’s services are now provided at no charge.
HCA held its official opening ceremony on 10 May 2019, a momentous occasion graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health and Special Guest Mr Heng Chee How, Member of Parliament, Jalan Besar GRC.
Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong giving an opening speech.
In Mr Gan’s speech, he emphasised the importance of improving accessibility to palliative care services, especially in light of the increased demand that accompanies an aging population. “We want to be able to provide people with palliative care services that they need, regardless of their diagnosis, how old they are, or whether they die in a hospice, an acute hospital, a nursing home or at home,” Mr Gan said. “MOH is increasing accessibility to palliative care services, in particular, community-based palliative care, and HCA is a key partner in us improving accessibility.”
“In 2018, the sector provided places to cater to around 6,100 home hospice patients. As the largest provider of home hospice in Singapore, the HCA team supports more than 3,500 patients and makes about 37,000 home visits annually. Beyond capacity, we are now focusing on improving the quality of care.”
Unveiling the HCA plaque, which features a clay tile artwork handcrafted by HCA staff.
The audience was also regaled with songs performed by HCA staff and former HCA patient Doris Quek, who was inspired to contribute her time and effort after she was well enough to be discharged from HCA’s service.
Former HCA patient Doris Quek (centre) performed a medley of old favourites
For HCA’s Day Hospice patients, the Day Hospice is akin to a second home. Therefore, enhancing quality of care became a crucial focus in the planning for the new Day Hospice.
Along with broadening the admission criteria to reach out to weaker patients and providing door-to-door transport services, HCA has also increased its variety of programmes to cater to a wider demography.
Mr Gan takes the time to chat with HCA’s Day Hospice patients during lunch.
The guests were also taken on tours of the “A Good Day” photo-exhibition and the heritage murals, both of which showcase the pivotal role hospice care plays in bringing joy and dignity in the last lap of life.
All guests had a chance to find out more about each of the patients featured in the “A Good Day” photo-exhibition.
HCA PSS Deputy Head Venus Ther explains the micro-stories captured on the heritage murals.
Painted by local artist Yip Yew Chong, the heritage murals capture succinct yet poignant snapshots of key milestones in the local hospice and palliative care movement. It represents a common hope that weaves the fabric of the past, present and future – to live and die well.
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