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Improving The Quality Of Life

Inside Story
Improving The Quality Of Life

As Hospis Malaysia strives to increase awareness of and improve access to professional palliative, Malaysia Airports supports their noble work with the KLM Charity Tulip Sale in aid of Hospis Malaysia

Malaysia Airports General Manager Corporate Communications Nik Anis Nik Zakaria (L) and KLM Country Manager Estee Ng (R) presenting the proceeds of the charity tulip sale to Hospis Malaysia General Manager Tham Su Ming

Recognising this, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (Malaysia Airports) and Sama-Sama Hotel, collaborated together with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in organising the KLM Charity Tulip Sale in May in conjunction with Mother’s Day. The charitable effort raked in RM48,450 in total sales with the proceeds channelled to Hospis Malaysia.

This the first time Malaysia Airports is collaborating with KLM for their Annual Charity Tulip sale, which was held at KL International Airport. Malaysia Airports is always keen to collaborate with its airline partners, not only in terms of facilitating their business and growth but also in supporting their corporate responsibility initiatives.

The event also provided an ideal platform for Malaysia Airports to give back to the broader community, fitting well with its Airport@Community CSR pillar, underscoring the importance of corporate sustainability where it strives to elevate the lives of the communities in which it operates within.

Hospis Malaysia: The Vision

A world where everyone is aware of and has access to good palliative care – that is the vision of Hospis Malaysia, a leading palliative care organisation in the country.

Palliative care is a medical specialty which addresses how life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, organ failure, HIV/AIDs and certain neurological conditions such as late stage Alzheimer’s, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson’s, affects the patient and the people around them. Palliative care focuses on treating the physical and psychological symptoms resulting from the disease with the aim of improving the patients and their families’ quality of life.

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Hospis Malaysia palliative care nurse Nadiah with a patient and caregiver
(Photo by SC Shekar)

At the core of Hospis Malaysia’s work is its community palliative care service. Its clinical team which currently includes nurses, doctors, pharmacists and occupational therapist, supported by a small team of administrative staff, visit and treat their patients in their own homes. All this is provided at no charge.

To teach others to do what it does, Hospis Malaysia also provides palliative care education and training. The organisation also works closely with its partners across the world to share best practices on palliative care and has built a close working relationship with the Ministry of Health Malaysia, universities and clinical partners to advocate and develop better access to palliative care for all in need in the country.

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Display of life-size baby elephant sculptures accompanied by exhibits of patient testimonials

Hospis Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Dr Ednin Hamzah noted that “every year more than 56,000 Malaysians experience serious health-related suffering due to serious illnesses. While it has been established that palliative care can alleviate this suffering, it is estimated that less than 10% currently receive it.” The ultimate aim, he stressed, is to fully integrate palliative care into the country’s health care system.

Formed in 1991, Hospis Malaysia currently looks after approximately 400 patients at any one time. Each year, roughly 2,000 patients are referred to it.

What Hospis Malaysia Does

Hospis Malaysia’s activities focus on three key areas:

1. PATIENT SERVICES

Domiciliary Palliative Care: This home care service is Hospis Malaysia’s core activity, where the clinical team work closely together to find effective solutions to address the needs of patients in their homes. Hospis Malaysia also provides a 24-hour on-call service for its registered patients to cover any emergency needs.

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Hospis Malaysia palliative care nurse guiding a caregiver

Rehabilitation Sessions: Weekly rehabilitation sessions are conducted at the Hospis Malaysia centre to improve and maintain patients’ strength to help them to regain their independence.

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Weekly rehabilitation sessions are held at the Hospis Malaysia centre in Cheras

Hospital Consultations: Hospis Malaysia also provides palliative care consults in hospitals, where their palliative care nurses visit the hospitals routinely to ease the transition for patients planning to be discharged.

Outpatient Palliative Care: This is available for patients who live outside Hospis Malaysia’s catchment area or who would prefer to be treated at their centre in Cheras.

2. EDUCATION & TRAINING

Hospis Malaysia’s educational programme covers three broad areas – medical undergraduate and post- graduate programmes, nursing postgraduate programmes and practical training for those working within palliative care and related specialities.

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Hospis Malaysia conducts regular workshops for healthcare professionals and caregivers

Training For Healthcare Professionals: Annually, Hospis Malaysia conducts a series of workshops in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Network (APHPCN / APHN), as well as a workshop on Paediatric Palliative Care in collaboration with the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN). These workshops are targeted at palliative care practitioners and other allied healthcare professionals.

Training For Caregivers: Regular caregivers’ workshops are conducted to introduce caregivers to basic care-giving and nursing skills, as well as to help them better manage the symptoms and effects of a patient’s illness at home.

Graduate & Post-Graduate Education: Hospis Malaysia supports the Ministry of Health with the design and implementation of the ‘Palliative Medicine Specialist Training’ curriculum at various tertiary institutions. This provides medical and nursing degree students with an understanding of palliative care so they can better manage end-of-life care. Post-graduate training is also provided for family medicine specialist trainees and palliative medicine specialist trainees.

3. ADVOCACY

Recognising the importance of greater awareness and to raise the visibility of palliative care, Hospis Malaysia conducts regular roadshows, exhibitions and campaigns to improve the public’s knowledge about Hospis Malaysia conducts regular workshops for healthcare professionals and caregivers what can be done to address the challenges of dealing with the diagnosis of a life-limiting illness and caring for loved ones with serious illness.

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Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye officiating Hospis Malaysia’s ‘Speak Up – Because I Matter’ public awareness event

Hospis Malaysia is also working closely with the country’s policymakers and other stakeholders to achieve its vision of making palliative care accessible to all in need in the country. In 2016, the organisation commissioned and published the ‘Palliative Care Needs Assessment: Malaysia’ report in an attempt to estimate the palliative care needs of the country (https://www.hospismalaysia.org/wp- content/uploads/2016/10/Palliative-Care-Needs-Assessment-Malaysia-2016.pdf).

Find out more about Hospis Malaysia and how you can help contribute at www.hospismalaysia.org

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