Govt looking to expand home care-based palliative care services


KUALA LUMPUR: As part of the its efforts on the 'uberisation' of healthcare, the government is looking to expand home care-based palliative care services, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

Dr Lee said when palliative care medicine was recognised as a medical subspecialty in 2008, the government has churned out 11 palliative care specialists.

He added that six public hospitals now have palliative care specialists.

"We are expanding the services, and through our health clinics, we are providing home care-based palliative care services, apart from the usual home visit.

"With the Health Director General's (Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah) uberisation of health care remarks, these are the things we are looking at," he said during the launch of the Hospis Malaysia "Speak Up - Because I Matter" campaign in conjunction with Palliative Care Awareness Month in Suria KLCC on Thursday (April 11).

Dr Lee said the government was expanding its palliative care services, as it knew it was cheaper to keep patients at home rather than in the hospital for a patient's end-of-life care.

He said the services were being done through the government's health clinics.

Hospis Malaysia chairman Datin Kathleen Chew, who was at the launch, said there was a need to recognise that those at the end of life mattered, just as much as those in their prime of life.

"To live well must include dying well, and this is not wishful thinking.

"At Hospis Malaysia, we know it is possible that with appropriate support, dying does not have to be a chaotic, fear-ridden and painful experience.

"In fact, families can be well supported, and death can even be meaningful," she said.

The campaign features stories of patients with life-limiting illnesses and highlighting the work of palliative care practitioners and the importance of placing the patient at the centre of any care plan.

The public can view the "Speak Up - Because I Matter" exhibition at the concourse level of Suria KLCC.

Model elephants from its 2018 campaign "Speak Up – There's an Elephant in the Room" to encourage conversations to support these families, are also on display.