Caring for patients at the end of their lives is emotionally challenging. We do grief for them. But knowing that we have been part of their journey, being able to keep them comfortable at the end and helping them to fulfil some of their final wishes are what motivates us in the palliative care team."
At the Palliative Care department of TTSH, A/Prof Koh and his medical team work together to care for patients suffering from serious illnesses. Many of his patients suffer from cancer or other terminal illnesses like heart, lung and kidney failure as well as advanced dementia. Often the prognosis is poor.
However, knowing that he and his palliative care team have played a positive role in the most difficult part of a patient’s life journey strengthened his resolve and reaffirmed decisions to venture into this field of medicine. This sense of purpose helps A/Prof Koh stay resilient and motivates him and his colleagues to carry on caring for terminally ill patients.
A/Prof Koh shared the story of the team caring for the late Mr Cheong, a palliative care patient diagnosed with advanced nasopharyngeal cancer. Mr Cheong was initially moody and withdrawn. However, through art therapy he was able to better manage his emotions which greatly improved his well-being. During his hospital stay, he created over 100 artworks. Touched by his resilience, the medical team helped set up a small exhibition to showcase his art and raise funds for palliative patients.
One of A/Prof Koh’s hope on the future of palliative care is for society and Singaporeans to speak openly about “death and dying”. “As much as we plan for the arrival of a new baby, we should also plan and talk openly about our wishes should there be a time when we ourselves are faced with a life threatening illness”.
We hope you will support our palliative care programmes and help terminally ill patients improve their quality of life. Please click
here and donate.