For many of us, Chinese New Year is a time for celebrations and reunions with families and friends, gathering around the dinner table with festive dishes and exchanging well-wishes. However, for some of our patients like 35-year-old Melanie Choy who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and their families, caregiving is challenging and reunions are not to be taken for granted.
Melanie was a freelance photographer and an avid art and music lover. Being in a close-knit family of four with a younger brother, Melanie and her family often spent Chinese New Year at her father’s hometown in Klang, Malaysia, celebrating with her extended family. Simple festive routines of enjoying the sumptuous reunion dinner prepared by Nai Nai (grandmother) and peeling oranges with her were precious moments for Melanie, who used to spend a lot of time with Nai Nai as a child.
However, Melanie and her family will not be able to join the celebration in Malaysia this Chinese New Year. In September 2022, Melanie experienced excruciating abdominal pain and was soon diagnosed with end-stage colorectal cancer. Being in the prime of her life, this was unexpected and devastating news. Surgery was not suitable and she did not react well to chemotherapy.
Melanie came under the care of Assisi Hospice Inpatient service in November 2022. After about a month in the inpatient ward, Melanie expressed her wish to be cared for at home and came under the care of our Home Care team. She was bedbound and required assistance in activities of daily living like cleaning herself, and changing of diapers. Her father, mother and brother took turns to care for her round the clock. Both her father and her brother had stopped working to spend as much time as possible with her, along with her mother who is a homemaker. Our doctors and nurses visited regularly to manage her various symptoms, like pain, and provided training and support for her family to meet her increasing care needs. Our Home Care service is provided free. As the family’s financial resources dwindled, we provided even more subsidies for Melanie’s inpatient charges.
“We are very grateful for the care by Assisi Hospice’s doctors and nurses. The Home Care nurse always takes time to communicate with Melanie, address issues and her concerns regarding the medication, making sure she’s comfortable, respecting her wishes. The doctors also take time to examine her and are very helpful. We are relieved that Home Care is free, and thankful for the social worker who helped us with application of the subsidy for inpatient charges,” said Mr Choy Kok Wai, Melanie’s father.
Melanie passed away peacefully on 5 Jan 2023.
At Assisi Hospice, we provide palliative care for patients that preserves their dignity and quality of life. Patients of any race, faith and financial position are cared for by our team of specialist doctors, nurses, allied health and pastoral care professionals. Our Home Care service is free. 50% of Assisi Hospice’s patients are poorest of the poor and means tested to the lowest income level, and are in need of financial assistance. Your donation will enable us to continue to provide care and comfort to patients like Melanie and support for their families.
Share your blessings and provide comfort to families in need during this special season here