Thursday, October 3, 2013

From Hospital to Hospice

In the midst of the chaos what was our first week in SGH Ward 46, we were contacted by and met with a social worker representing the National Cancer Center (NCC), who were to advice us on the next step for dad's care, which was to be moved to a "hospice", to spend the remainder of his days on this mortal world.

The way it works is, the NCC will liaise with the chosen hospice/establishment (within NCC's selection), to arrange for bedding availability, and even ambulance transport, as well as medical requirements - such as pain management etc - once the patient is brought over to said hospice/establishment.

And via this arrangement between NCC and chosen hospice/establishment, we would get to enjoy the government subsidies afforded, as well as payment via Medisave, partial or otherwise.

Based on our simple criteria (I had asked for a location closer to us in Pasir Ris), a hospice/hospital was chosen, and apparently applied for, without further confirmation from us.

So I was with surprise that I received a call from the hospice/establishment a day after I had a chat with the social worker, and was told dad was to be moved on the fourth day since he had been warded.

We were all frankly dumbfounded, as the speed was overwhelmingly fast, but most importantly, we were not told of the application, and had not even had a chance to tell dad. Heck, we were still in dire worry about dad's condition!

But seems the hospital felt dad was able to be transported.

We had delayed the move to a Friday, while both myself and my brother sped to the chosen hospice for a recce trip - we needed to see where it was that dad was to go stay!

(Ironically, I was here at the first location, years ago filming
in one of the ward/rooms, for a Chinese television series…)

The difference between a "hospice" and an "old folk's home", was that the later housed anyone that came thru it's doors, whereas a hospice - in this instance offering "Palliative Care" - only focused on "advanced terminally ill" folks, folks who have been given (estimated) "3 months of life". In a hospice there will be nurses and perhaps even doctor(s), but their main concern, is "pain management".

Different locales offer different prices provide different needs for the patient as well. Some Daily Room costs do not include items like diapers. Some locales offer visitation leeways. Some locales also offer addition amenities like "rehabilitation therapy", "music theraphy" etc. At the end of the day, it was "how much?" and "what can they do to help my dad feel more comfortable?".

By the end of the first week, we turned down the move to the first hospice chosen, and had gone intead to recce two other hospice (on the NCC list), and finally decided on one, and informed the relevant folks about it.

And we have been waiting since - for availability at our chosen hospice - and this coming Friday (tomorrow), would be the end of the second week of waiting.

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