Palliative Care In Singapore: Your Guide To Recovering With Palliative Treatment Services

With more patients and families seeking high-quality healthcare solutions, palliative treatment has become one of the most popular healthcare options today to provide compassionate and holistic care package for healing from illnesses and improving quality of life, helping millions of people regain control over their lives. 

If you have heard of palliative care and unsure how it works, this is a great place to start! In this in-depth guide which takes you no more than 7 minutes to read, we cover everything you need to know about palliative care services in Singapore.

1. What Is Palliative Treatment?

Palliative care is a comprehensive and customisable treatment offered to patients who need an improvement in quality of life due to their condition. It can be provided in combination with curative treatment. A team of medical professionals including doctor, specialist, nurse, caregiver and more who are experienced in palliative medicine are assigned to help you recover from your illness while eliminating as much discomfort as possible.

Palliative care enhances a patient’s experience every step of the way, based on the assessed care needs, with an overarching goal of improving the quality of life. As such, it focuses on, but is not limited to, the relief of pain and other physical distress, prevention of complications, and caring for the psychological, social and spiritual needs of the patient and family. As palliative is highly personalised, you can find palliative care plan that helps with your specific health problems, including:

  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart failure
  • Lung problems
  • Chronic pain
  • Old age
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Other life-threatening diseases

2. Why Should You Consider Palliative Treatment?

There are lots of good reasons to consider palliative treatment, especially if you want to alleviate suffering by finding effective ways to make your situation as comfortable as possible. When you opt for palliative treatment, you will receive holistic and comprehensive care that includes:

  • Improved Quality Of Life – This is the principal goal of palliative care. Through measures to manage pain, alleviate other symptoms, and prevent complications, both the patient and family members can improve their well-being throughout the healing process. Since palliative care can be conveniently offered at home, they can also spend more time with each other in their most familiar and comfortable environment.
  • 24/7 Care And Support – You’ll have access to round-the-clock care from trained and licensed medical professionals who specialise in palliative medicine for your condition. The make-up of palliative team can be adjusted based on your need. For example physiotherapist will join when there is need to improve mobility function. At another time, a speech therapist can come in to help overcome speaking problem. 
  • Emotional And Mental Coping – Psychological wellness plays a role in healing from diseases. Palliative care provides an outlet for you to express your thoughts and feelings, while helping you cope more effectively with the mental strain brought about by the illness, through the involvement of psychiatrists, counsellors, social workers and volunteers who are familiar with the issue you are experiencing.
  • Support Groups And Community – Through palliative programs, you will discover relevant support centers who offer peer support for patients, survivors, and caregivers similar to you, and a larger community and network of people who are going through similar circumstances and willing to lift up one another.
  • Guidance From Health Professionals – You’ll be assisted throughout every phase from start to finish, with every question or concern you have, such as how the different treatment options work, what are their pros and cons, what are the typical costs, and so on.

3. Who Will Benefit From Palliative Treatment?

Palliative treatment is beneficial for not just the patients, but also their families and family caregivers to maintain their well-being during every stage of illness. It is the most ideal set-up for ailments that inhibit a patient’s ability to function normally due to physical, mental, or psychological impairments.

It is a common misconception that palliative care is only for those who are terminally ill or suffering from life threatening illnesses. Regardless of your age, gender, or condition, palliative treatment allows you to focus on the aspects of life that bring you joy instead of confronting stressful situations in hospitals or clinics. 

4. What Are The Types Of Palliative Treatment?

Palliative treatment comes in several forms, each with their own function at different stages of a person’s battle with illness. Prevention and curative treatment methods are used in combination with palliative care depending on your circumstances. Let’s talk about the three main types of palliative treatment and what they entail.

Symptom Management & Complication Prevention

Recognising your symptoms during the onset of your disease can happen before or after a diagnosis. At this point, symptom management will become a key factor in determining your wellness. This could include treating effects like pain, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, difficulty breathing, and more. Symptom management also works as a preventive and curative measure to prevent complications and improve your chance of overcome the illness.

Hospice Care (End-of-life Care)

If a patient is unable to recuperate during the first few stages of palliative care, then hospice care is the final option for more advanced stages of a disease. Instead of focusing on curing the patient, the focus is on providing them with all the care they need to conveniently live out the rest of their days in peace. Consider hospice care as a last resort and a means to approach the concept of death through acceptance and openness.

Bereavement Support

With a palliative treatment plan, the families, friends, and caregivers of patients who die will have all the support they need to carry on despite their grief. This means that bereavement support will be available to those who want to connect with communities, support groups, and other survivors through counselling.

Ninkatec_Types of Palliative Care

Different types of palliative care are suitable for different stages of illness

5. What Are The Different Levels Of Palliative Treatment?

There are different styles of Palliative treatment that you can apply for, and the method you choose depends on your condition and preferences. The stage of your illness may also affect the kind of care you have to receive for progressive and successful results. Let’s talk about the three levels of palliative treatment and what they mean.

Primary Palliative Treatment

If your sickness is relatively manageable, you can get advice and services from certified health professionals in your area. This means you have more freedom to do virtual care options or hire part-time caregivers to do scheduled visits to your home.

Intermediate Palliative Treatment

For patients with moderately serious illnesses, intermediate palliative treatment is the best solution to make sure all the essentials are covered. This means you’ll have to seek the advice of specialists to recommend treatments and therapy from licensed health professionals. It’s also recommended during the mid-stages of the journey, considering that the patient will need to be constantly monitored by palliative nurses or caregivers.

Complex Palliative Treatment

Patients in critical condition require constant attention and treatments from a team of medical specialists. This involves regular check-ups by doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other palliative specialists as necessary to ensure all the steps are taken for a better outcome. Although this is ideal for the later stages of fatal diseases, some people may require complex palliative treatment after the first diagnosis is made.

6. Is Palliative Care the same as Hospice Care?

Sometimes used interchangeably by the public, palliative care and hospice care are not the same. Hospice care, also known as end-of-life care, is in fact a part of palliative care practice. 

The key difference between the two practices is that hospice care typically starts when the doctor has given a prognosis that the patient has 6 months or less to live (the patient may eventually beat the prognosis and survive for longer). Palliative care on the other hand can start at any stage of illness, including at the diagnosis of a disease. Palliative treatment is often carried out to complement curative treatment, while hospice care starts when curative treatment has stopped and it is clear that the patient will not survive for long. The below table helps you distinguish between the two types of care. 

Palliative Care VS. Hospice Care

Palliative care vs hospice care: Similarities and differences

7. Where Can You Receive Palliative Treatment?

Palliative care can be provided in any care setting, in the hospital, at a care center, clinic or at home. This is one of the advantages of palliative care. Patients can choose the location for treatment depending on their preferences. Many people opt for palliative treatment in the comfort of their house so they can maintain their daily routines and be surrounded by family and friends. 

Hospice care can also be provided at home, not just in a hospice as its name may suggest, in which case it is referred to as home hospice service. It is typically requested by patient who wish to spend the final days of their life with their loved ones and in a familiar surrounding. Depending on care needs, the cost can be higher for more intensive and structured care plan, or lower and flexible by visit as and when the patient and family needs. 

Some patients may need to receive palliation at the hospital or clinic, especially when they have more serious conditions to deal with. In these cases, careful consideration and arrangement should be made to make them feel secure, comfortable and settled throughout the treatment.

8. Are There Other Methods For Coping During Palliative Treatment?

Patients undergoing palliative treatment face enormous challenges, and it can take a toll on you when you least expect it. One of the advantages of palliative care is that it incorporates lots of ways in addition to medical care to help the patient and family maintain their emotional and mental wellness during the treatment process. When a palliative team assess that you need additional support to maintain or improve your well-being and make the most of palliative care, they may recommend one of more of the following measures. 

Managing Nutrition, Fitness and Emotional & Mental Health

It’s important to take care of both the body and mind with a nutritious diet, appropriate exercises, and therapeutic practices during the healing journey. Proper self-care and a holistic care program can help manage the symptoms and keep stress at bay through constructive ways, for both the patient and family. To this end, palliative care team may put you in touch with dieticians, wellness experts, and accredited psychologists as necessary for counselling, tips and advice on how to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy.  

Art, Music, And Writing Therapy

Creative outlets can be useful for helping you cope with worries and anxieties you may have about your health and medical treatments. There are plenty of different art, music, and writing programs all over Singapore – these courses and sessions are very therapeutic in assisting patients with their mental well-being so they can remain positive and hopeful throughout their treatment.  

Social Community Support Groups

It’s comforting to know that you aren’t alone – and that’s exactly why you need a solid community of support behind you. When there is a need to connect with social support group, the palliative social worker can help you find a suitable support group to join. Here’s a list of the best centers that provide support to patients, families, and caregivers in Singapore. They are often attached to the different national centers and local organisations and open to individuals from different walks of life:

  • National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS)
  • Singapore Cancer Society (SCS)
  • SingHealth Cancer Supportive Care
  • National Neuroscience Institute (INI)
  • Changi General Hospital
  • Dementia Singapore (formerly known as Alzheimer’s Disease Association)
  • Singapore Heart Foundation
  • Singapore National Stroke Association
  • Club Heal

Connecting With Online Communities

While home care is comfortable, it can be isolating. Fortunately, there are plenty of online communities you can connect with from your home for support. These groups give patients and families the appropriate channels to learn information about their diseases, seek advice from survivors, and view recommendations from health professionals. Ask your palliative care doctor for recommendations and referral, or try one that suits you from the following Facebook groups for peer interaction and encouragement:

  • Cancer Survivor Singapore
  • Breast Cancer Singapore
  • Singapore Association For Mental Health
  • Life After Stroke In Singapore
  • Singapore Liver Cancer Support Group
  • Caregiver And The Elderly
  • Diabetic Society Of Singapore
  • Singapore Special Needs And Parents
  • Palliative & End of Life Care Educators

Preparing For The Worst

For terminally ill patients, sometimes death is anticipated but not fully accepted and prepared for. Since bereavement support is a part of palliative care, patients and families can express worries and concerns with the palliative team to receive the necessary emotional, psycho-social, and spiritual assistance to cope with the situation. 

The acceptance of death in fact can bring about a peace of mind. Working with a palliative care nurse or counsellor, the patient and family get help to come to terms with the eventual event and take steps to prepare for it, such as writing down a will, sorting out inheritance paperwork, or giving away some of the belongings. These steps can be cathartic for everyone involved. Each person deals with grief and loss differently and has their unique bereavement needs. However, everyone can benefit from having someone equipped with training and experience to turn to for support.  

9. What Is The Best Palliative Treatment?

You and your loved ones deserve palliative care that prioritises your physical and psychological well-being. The best palliative treatments utilise modern-day technology and human touch to provide services that cater to your personal needs.

If you’re looking for the highest quality palliative treatment in Singapore, Ninkatec offers a wide range of services for any patient in need. We specialise in home care services, and as such, are equipped to bring medical care to your door step in the most efficient manner. Whether you’re looking for specialised care, on-call caregivers, virtual assistance, or regular visits from palliative doctor and nurse, Ninkatec provides all the essentials and so much more. 

10. What Are The Ninkatec Palliative Care Plans?

From basic home care to complete acute care solutions, Ninkatec offers three care plans for you to choose from depending on your needs. Ninkatec is partnered with some of the most reputable palliative doctors, nurses, caregivers and other professionals, so you can rest easy knowing you are in good hands. 

Using the latest technological advancements and innovations, Ninkatec is at the forefront of palliative care in Singapore. All clients are accommodated with unparalleled supervision and understanding from our palliative care team, with each staff curating a stress-free experience for every single patient.

Right At Home

This palliative care solution brings all the benefits of a hospital into your home, making it incredibly easy to receive medical support from caregivers. The ‘Right At Home’ plan which is on a monthly subscription basis, is perfect for chronically ill patients who require 24-hour monitoring, online assistance, and monthly doctor visits for check-ups. 

Close Connect

If you or your loved one requires constant medical attention, this palliative care method should be your go-to choice. The ‘Close Connect’ plan is ideal for delicate situations that rely on daily nurse visits, a 24-hour online call center, and non-stop monitoring. This weekly subscription is one of the best things you can consider if you’re in critical condition or experiencing complications with any illness.

Virtual Care

Patients with milder conditions who want to assert a level of independence can choose the budget-friendly ‘Virtual Care’ plan. This palliative treatment is used when you can manage on your own, but it also gives you access to a team of trusted clinicians 24 hours a day. You’ll have the option to chat and ask for advice, request for monitoring, and schedule appointments. With a monthly subscription, you’ll definitely get the best value for your money.

All plans come with 24/7 remote monitoring of vitals sign, through which Ninkatec doctors and nurses can timely detect abnormalities and take relevant responsive actions or guide family members to do so.

The Best Palliative Care In Singapore

Getting diagnosed with a medical condition that requires long term treatment can be difficult for you and your loved ones. From medical treatments and caregiving to therapy, recovery and finance, dealing with an illness requires a lot of patience and effort from the patient and family members involved. Palliative care is a specialised care service that provides you with all the options you need to make the best out of your situation. No matter what you are dealing with, having access to all the right palliative service can do wonders for you and your loved ones. 

Connect with Ninkatec Care team via call, chat, email or the form below to find out if palliative treatment suits your situation and what are the best care options. Regardless of the condition and stage, you will be treated with the care, respect, and attention you deserve. 

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