Assisi Hospice

Assisi Hospice to have New Building

published by The Catholic News on December 4, 2011

The Catholic News – 4 December 2011, Vol 61, No.24

Expansion a response to growing needs of Singapore society

Assisi Hospice is looking forward to newer and bigger premises by the end of 2014 to cater to the increasing need for palliative care in Singapore.

The new hospice will be situated next to its current premises at Mount Alvernia Hospital on a 0.55 ha site. There are plans to double its inpatient, day care and home hospice care abilities.

The hospice can serve 36 inpatients at present.

The present Assisi Hospice will have separate wards for children and adults when it is expanded in 2014

Speaking to CatholicNews, Assisi Hospice’s executive director Irene Chan said the expansion “is a response to the needs in the community”.

Singapore faces an ageing population, a smaller family size and many are struggling to care for their loved ones who are ill, especially those who suffer from complicated symptoms and require psychological, emotional and spiritual attention, she said.

“We believe that, along the values of our patron saint, St Francis of Assisi, every life is sacred and should be revered … We believe no one should have to live in pain and die without dignity. Families should be supported as our care is focused on both the patient and the family.”

The management and staff recognised “the limitations of the current infrastructure” as far as the enhancement of current services and the development of new programmes are concerned, she added.

The current building used to be a convent belonging to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM) nuns, who founded and who own the hospice.

They have spent the last 42 years providing compassionate palliative care, enabling patients to live their final days in comfort and dignity.

Plans for expansion began in 2008 during a visit by the hospice’s patron, Ms Ho Ching, executive director and CEO of Temasek Holdings. The board and management “were encouraged to go and pursue this dream … as a response to the needs in the community”, said Ms Chan.

While the current provision of inpatient, day, and home hospice services for adults and children will remain, the hospice will also strengthen its bereavement service, set up common dining rooms for patients and family members, and family rooms for family members to stay over.

“We will also have a separate inpatient hospice wing for children who are very ill and their families,” Ms Chan said. There are no separate wards for children and adult patients presently and it would be ideal for the children to have their own space as their needs are different from adults’, she said.

Executive Director, Irene Chan

As the hospice also aims to be a training and research centre, space will be set aside for training purposes. The hospice “will work with local and foreign experts” to meet different training needs, said Ms Chan.

The Ministry of Health would support the hospice expansion by helping to fund the new building, training and upgrading staff skills, and advocating the role of palliative care in Singapore, said Ms Chan.

FMDM Regional Leader Sr Barbara Pereira said the FMDM Sisters “are happy with the redevelopment plans as it allows us to continue to grow our mission of providing compassionate care to those faced with life-threatening illnesses”.

By Darren Boon

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