Palliative Care Awareness Month was launched to bring to light the topic of what palliative really is in Malaysia. Commemorated in April and an initiative by Hospis Malaysia, it encourages individuals to understand what palliative care really means and to get the conversation going about the importance of early palliative communication in our community.
In November 2019, a palliative care program was set up by the Ministry of Health to look into improving the quality of life for individuals in comfort and dignity and to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). As of 2020, there are only 21 trained palliative care specialists and 5 specialised units in the Ministry of Health.
In line with this, we would like to add value to highlight and give Malaysians an insight on the most updated and comprehensive list of palliative care support groups that are available for families and their loved ones looking for palliative care.
What is palliative care and how is it different from hospice care (end-of-life)?
Many assume and associate palliative care with hospice or end-of-life care, but while the concepts may be similar, they are not the same. Palliative care is defined simply as specialised medical care for people living with an irreversible, life-limiting condition.
Palliative care involves care across the continuum of a patient’s condition, taking into consideration care beyond cure. This means that this type of care is engaged when a person’s medical condition might be degenerative to the point where complete reversal of the disease and its processes is no longer possible. The basis of palliative care is to give assurance to the individual so they can live life to their most optimum, whether it be physical, social, emotional, psychological, and even spiritual.
Hospice or end-of-life care is part of and one of the last few stages of palliative care, and although difficult to predict, it helps individuals maintain a semblance of a quality of life while offering services for legal matters, and ultimately ensuring that patients pass on with dignity. These are individuals who have stopped their treatment to cure their condition or to control their disease.
What are the palliative and hospice care services and support groups in Malaysia?
1. Assunta Integrated Social Services (ASSISS)
Established in 1961, this social enterprise was started out by Assunta Hospital to provide free clinics to the underprivileged. As they evolved throughout the decades, Assunta Integrated Social Services was set up as a community service initiative.
Support groups are offered for family members and primary caregivers so they are able to manage caring for their loved ones while sharing their journey within the support group. Apart from offering palliative services, they also provide services such as Assunta Mobile Clinic, Pastoral Care, Social Welfare, and also Geriatric Care.
2. Kasih Hospice
Kasih Hospice Care Society is a non-profit organisation that aims to help individuals live a full life, both physically and mentally. Under it is Kasih Place — where training, emotional support and philosophies on empathy and compassion is taught. They host a range of activities such as meditation, healthy cooking and eating, and caregiver and patient support groups.
3. Hospis Malaysia
Hospis Malaysia is well known as a charitable organisation in Klang Valley offering palliative care for Malaysians, beyond bringing to light awareness on palliative care and moving the needle for government policies.
Beyond its operations, it also conducts training for caregivers, provides a resource centre and counselling room, and runs a daycare centre.
- Palliative Care Malaysia (Facebook Group): An initiative by Hospis Malaysia, caregivers, and family members can find tips, event workshops and a platform to share and communicate, especially for those living in other states or regions beyond Klang Valley.
What is palliative care at home?
Many seniors want to age at home and family caregivers find that getting palliative care at home can sometimes mean that they may need to be there 24/7 physically, mentally, and emotionally to care for their loved one in their day-to-day which can be complex especially when they have commitments of their own or when they may not be around for extended periods of time. Some prefer to get a maid or helper, and others take it on as their responsibility to care for their own parents with the mindset to pay homage by being filial to their loved ones.
Getting personalised care at home makes a difference in ensuring seniors are constantly comfortable and are given the right kind of support. At the end of the day, the goal is to improve and provide the best possible quality of life for every individual.
Need care for your loved one today? Chat with our Care Advisor at 016-2992188 or fill in your details below for a free consultation on how we can provide care and assistance.