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HCA plays its part at the event that was the highlight of this year’s hospice care calendar
25 August 2017

This year’s jewel of the hospice care activity calendar was, of course, the Asia Pacific Hospice Conference 2017 (APHC), with the theme “greater than the sum of its parts”. Indeed, this was a very apt depiction of HCA’s own care philosophy revolving around our multi-disciplinary teams of professional clinical staff.

Doing us proud was our Medical Director Dr Chong Poh Heng, who facilitated a very interesting session on “Alternative therapy and cultural beliefs in young person cancer”. He was accompanied by co-facilitator the esteemed Professor Julia Downing, an internationally renowned figure in the palliative care industry.

He chaired a panel discussion, was accompanied by luminaries from around the region – Dr Issarang Nuchprayoon (Thailand), Dr Rojim Sorrosa (Philippines) and Dr Kuan Geok Lan (Malaysia).

The panel led a lively discussion about how patients often turn to alternative medicine when facing terminal cancers, and how respective cultural beliefs play a part in the whole treatment regime.

An interesting topic arose in this context: has mainstream medicine failed our patients, so much so that they put their faith in other therapies? Therefore, the concept of ‘medical pluralism’ – the use of both western and traditional medicines.

The common agreement among all was the need to provide holistic care – care not only for the patient’s well-being, but care also for the family’s peace of mind. As professionals, we must be sensitised to our patients and their families’ cultural needs, and to try and integrate this into the care approach. The discussions and audience involvement provided for a very lively and informative afternoon.