Since 1969, Assisi Hospice has been caring for the critically ill, the dying and poor people of Singapore. Founded by nuns of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood order, Assisi Hospice is the only palliative care provider in Singapore that aims to relieve the suffering of people with incurable diseases so that they can continue living with a degree of dignity and comfort. Today Assisi Hospice has developed a comprehensive model of care that includes Inpatient Hospice Care, Day Hospice Care and Home Hospice Care. Care at Assisi is not constrained to medical and nursing services – it also includes psychosocial and bereavement support for patients and their families. This integrated approach of care is adopted to address the medical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual needs of patients and their families.
With support from ICAP Charity Day 2012 in Singapore, Assisi Hospice was able to expand its essential home care services. Assisi Hospice historically has two home care teams, which provide 24/7 help to patients with terminal cancer and life-threatening diseases, as well as supporting their families and alleviating financial constraints. Whilst the Singaporean Government does provide care for patients in need (identified through means testing) this only covers a fraction of the on-going operational costs. The total operational cost for Assisi’s two care teams service is estimated at SGD 1.6M per year.
A donation from ICAP has supported Assisi’s endeavours to bring much needed home care to the community.
The teams support patients from all over Singapore and as a result the service is well over subscribed. During the first six months of 2013 these two teams made over 6,500 home visits to patients. A donation from ICAP Charity Day 2012 covered the operational cost for creating and sustaining an additional team, the core of which includes a doctor, nurses and a social worker, to support the existing Assisi home care service. This extra resource is crucial to increase Assisi Hospice’s reach across all communities of Singapore, a problem which is only likely to become more acute with a growing aging population. This additional resource has also significantly reduced the number of referrals being diverted to other centres.
Assisi is truly grateful to ICAP for the continued support this year and for ICAP’s understanding on the importance of hospice and palliative care in Singapore, not just to a group of people who are near the end of life, but to their families and love ones too. It also reiterated ICAP’s commitment to help change the lives of the less fortunate.Dr Tan Yew Seng, Medical Director for Assisi Hospice.
As well as the development of the home care team, other strategies for home care development at Assisi also include increasing use of technology, such as telemedicine and assistive devices to enhance diagnosis, assessment, communication and work efficiency. Other plans include the extension of the charity’s palliative rehabilitation programme and the consideration of a home health aide programme. ICAP’s contribution to the Assisi Hospice enables patients to live their life to the fullest possible, in comfort and with dignity.