The trend of low birthrates and aging society in Taiwan is becoming worse and less irreversible. The National Development Council predicts that by 2025, Taiwan will enter into a super-aged society, and half of the Taiwanese people will be over 50 by 2034. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare estimates that the disabled population will reach 1.2 million by 2031, and the dementia population will exceed 850 thousand by 2061. While the disabled and aging population continues to increase, the dependency ratio rises yearly due to declining birth rates. The fact is that limited family support contributes to the increasing needs of residential long-term care institutions. In those well-reputed institutions, it is common for the waitlist to be several years long before a vacancy becomes available. This supply-demand imbalance may bring up another concern of whether the quality of care might be compromised. While thinking about living long and living well, how to die well becomes a question that needs to be thought over.
The Hospice Foundation of Taiwan has advocated palliative and hospice care for 32 years. In fact, it is the first organization that promotes palliative and hospice care in Taiwan. In its operational objectives, the promotion of palliative and hospice care in long-term care institutions has been set as a primary topic from the third decade to the fourth decade.
8 years ago, when the Foundation started to reach out to the long-term care institutions in Taiwan and held forums and training courses to advocate the idea of dying at home, it was common to hear the opposition, which included: “it is complicated to care for a terminal patient;” “extra manpower and space is needed for providing the hospice care;” “many conflicts and legal issues may arise;” and “there is no profit to gain from providing this service.” Therefore, the Hospice Foundation of Taiwan decided to film an educational video to break through the misunderstandings of the public and convey the correct concepts and practices of hospice in long-term care.
While filming the documentary Endless Love – Hospice Care in Long-term Care Institutions, the team experienced many unexpected situations, especially the outbreak of COVID-19, so the whole filming process took around two years (2020-2022) to complete. This documentary recorded a true story of how the patient receives quality hospice care in a long-term care institution. It aims to hatch the concept in healthcare workers and the public about the hospice care that can be provided in the institutions and how the work can be done.
The 95-year-old Mr. Li, who is the main character of the film, fell ill many years ago. His condition worsened, and his family was unable to take care of him; as a result, he was admitted in a long-term care institution. In the previous years, Mr. Li was hospitalized in the emergency department 5 times due to different illnesses within an 8th month period. He lost significant weight, and the frequency and duration of the hospitalization increased. Mrs. Li had taken a hospice course before, and she discussed with Mr. Li during his latest hospitalization about the idea of receiving hospice care.
In the beginning, the video presents the core value of hospice care and explains how the institution notices the changes in the patient’s life cycle. The video also shows 2 important aspects to help long-term care institution patients live and die well, which are: when to request assistance from the hospice care team, and what kind of hospice care can be applied in the long-term care institutions.
Based on this educational video, the Foundation plans to invite local governments to jointly promote this idea and expect to raise the attention of healthcare workers, patients, families, and the public regarding hospice care; thus altering the unfavorable impression of hospice care. Meanwhile, it is expected that this documentary will attract more long-term care workers to join the hospice care team, and in the end, more patients who live in the long-term care institution are able to end well in their home away from home.
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/9Li12M6ongY
 Dying at home refers to the long-term care institutions that, through providing hospice care, make the patients feel safe and at peace, as if they were staying in their own homes.
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This information was provided by Hospice Foundation Taiwan