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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Palliative care to be made more accessible to all Malaysians

NewsPalliative care to be made more accessible to all Malaysians

Hospice or palliative care should be made more accessible to Malaysians at all levels of the healthcare system, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in the welcoming speech at the Hospice Malaysia gala dinner on Friday (14 October).

According to Bernama, Khairy said that for this to happen, healthcare professionals should have a basic awareness of how to recognise patients in need of palliative care.

“Every Malaysian deserves to receive palliative care that is of high quality and acceptable to the ethical standards of healthcare in the nation.”

“It will require participation and contributions from much more than what is provided by formal healthcare services alone,” he said.

In the welcoming speech, he also emphasised that community palliative care is an important aspect of integrated palliative care service as it provides continuity of care to patients once discharged from a hospital.

“Community services help patients to remain at home for longer periods and help to reduce the need for emergency admissions to the hospital,” he said.

He added that community services will also help provide confidence to families to care for loved ones in their preferred place of care.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is specialised medical care for people living with life-threatening illnesses, and it focuses on providing relief to symptoms and stress of the illness. It aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Palliative care is provided by a team of specially-trained doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. This includes the need to provide bereavement counselling.

Where can you find palliative care in Malaysia?

Hospis Malaysia offers free and professional palliative care to patients living within Klang Valley. It has a clinical team comprising four doctors, 14 nurses, two pharmacists and one occupational therapist, and is supported by 33 employees.

The organisation cares for about 1,700 patients per year and trains about 700 healthcare workers annually.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that over 100,000 Malaysians who die each year require palliative care but the insufficient access to palliative care remains a challenge in the country.

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