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By Timothy Liu, CEO, Dover Park Hospice

Compassion may be an inconvenient thing. In implementing the precautionary measures against the fast-evolving COVID-19 situation, we have to constantly pause to think and adjust the measures so as to balance safety and compassion. With COVID-19, we have learnt that safety without compassion often ends up as draconian codes without purpose.

The core philosophy of Dover Park Hospice is "Every Moment Matters" where our care model is centred on enabling our patients to have meaningful time and build lasting memories together with their loved ones towards the end of their lives.

In delivering end-of-life care which is an essential service amid the pandemic, we constantly have to review the safety measures such as the screening of visitors' health and travel history, visiting hours, designated list of visitors. Most importantly, we have to ensure normalcy for our patients, with minimal disruptions to the delivery of care.

Temperature screening station

In connecting patients with their families or volunteers, our staff went over and above to use technology and their creativity to bring activities to patients’ bedsides. We facilitated video calls with family members and volunteers, and conducted our pet therapy sessions via video calls. We brought the garden to their bedsides when the garden was temporarily closed. In celebrating festivities, our clinical team put on a mini National Day Parade; during the Dragon Boat Festival, we had a dragon boat race on wheelchairs and made dumplings. Many of us long for the days of chatter and cheer in the hospice but there may not be any going back entirely.

National Day Parade

A teleconsultation session

Parents’ Day gifts

Nurse giving out goodie bags by Novena Neighbourhood Committee

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand …there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend.” (Quote by Frodo Baggins from “Lord of the Rings”)

COVID-19 has fundamentally shifted the way we live, work and play. It acts as a catalyst that transforms the way we operate to deliver a more efficient and effective palliative care. As we adapt to the new normal, we can no longer avoid risk, but we can learn to manage and balance risk with love and compassion.

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