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Bringing the frontiers of palliative care to HCA
13 March 2013

Three special guests joined in HCA Hospice Care’s 25th anniversary celebrations to share their knowledge – Dr Suresh Reddy, Dr Jan Aldridge, and Dr Mike Miller. Their visit was funded by the Agency of Integrated Care (AIC) Social & Healthcare Manpower Development Programme Intermediate and Long Term Care (SHMDP-ILTC).

Medical Symposium Sessions – Part I (17th-21st March) HCA

Hospice Care, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Bright Vision Hospital, Dover Park Hospice, Tan Tock Seng Hospital

Our first expert, Dr Suresh Reddy, is Professor and Section Chief at the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, Division of Cancer Medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre.


With his experience, Dr Reddy had plenty to share on different facets of palliative care, speaking on topics such as the use of opioids, the clinical diagnosis of dying, and palliative care for non-cancer patients. In addition, he also touched on teaching and training in palliative care – a particularly pertinent subject considering our shortage of manpower.


‘I found the talk on the managing pain by switching opioids especially useful,’ said Nurse Debbie. ‘We don’t have much experience on this, and I can see how we’ll be able to help patients to reduce pain more effectively this way.’


Medical Symposium Sessions – Part II (24th-28th March)

HCA Hospice Care, Assisi Hospice, Club Rainbow, KK Hospital, NUH, Children’s Cancer Foundation

Dr Jan Aldridge and Dr Mike Miller, consultants in clinical psychology and paediatric palliative medicine respectively from Martin House Children’s Hospice, UK, then lent their expertise to the second half of the medical symposium on paediatric palliative care.


‘They’re very experienced practitioners with loads of wisdom we can certainly tap on as we begin to grow our field,’ Dr Chong, programme director of Star PALS, said. ‘They’ve already gone far beyond what we know.’


With their differing areas of expertise, the two speakers complemented each other perfectly in the multi-disciplinary sessions, all of which were specific to paediatric palliative care. These included communications skills, advanced care planning, and the place of paediatric palliative care in a child’s holistic care plan.


Public Symposium – Living Well, Leaving Well – Understanding Palliative Care (22nd March)

Jointly organised with Tan Tock Seng Hospital

A free symposium gave 200 members of the public a chance to learn more about palliative care from the experts at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.


Dr Reddy kicked the event off with an extremely informative talk on the key decisions made in palliative care. Drawing statistics from local examples and running through case studies, Dr Reddy explained the importance of physician-caregiver-patient collaborations in advanced care planning and shared decision making.


In the second half of the event, Dr Aldridge used her experiences to explain how patients and their family members should be taken care of. She shared some common misperceptions on how children understand the concept of death, and how one should communicate with seriously ill children – with honesty and clarity.

The audience at Tan Tock Seng Hospital Theatrette.


HCA is thankful to our speakers and AIC for giving us the opportunity to learn from these industry experts. Read more about Dr Aldridge and Dr Reddy in their interviews. Good speakers and relevant content that’s easy to understand, even for caregivers. For healthcare workers, there were many new ideas and thoughts we can use,’ an attendee commented.