Home palliative care programme for young people launched in Singapore

Categories: Policy.

The Star PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) programme will provide end of life care and support for an estimated 160 paediatric patients at home every year.

Star PALS offers the support of a clinical multidisciplinary team, including doctors, nurses, counsellors, medical social workers and therapists. Patients may also benefit from physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

The programme aims to reduce unnecessary travel and admissions to the acute hospitals by providing palliative care for the child and the child’s family in their own homes. It will also provide respite at home using specially trained care staff.

Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor said, “We hope that with better home palliative care services, our people’s quality of life will be improved, and it will also help reduce the suffering for people with advanced illnesses.”

Star PALS was launched 20 October 2012 by the HCA Hospice Care, a registered charity in Singapore providing comfort and support to all patients with life-limiting illnesses aged 19 and below.

The HCA has increased their Star PALS team to five service staff who can serve over 20 families at any one time, or an estimated 160 paediatric patients per year. The programme extends existing adult palliative care at home services which serve 3,900 adult patients per year in Singapore.

The three-year pilot will cost $3.1 million SGD, with 80% covered by the Tote Board Community Healthcare Fund. HCA Hospice Care will also look to the public to support these children through donations.

The programme is run in collaboration with other partner organisations, such as the paediatric units in acute hospitals such as the KK Hospital and National University Hospital, alongside social services such as the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF).

A video interview with a Star PALS patient’s family can be found on the Channel News Asia website.