Illness and end of life. These are topics typically shunned by Asians as it is considered ‘inauspicious’ and a cultural taboo to talk about.
But on 31st May 2015, a group of KDF patients and their family members attended a unique seminar on advance care planning, where among other things, they were prompted to voice their fears and worries about having a serious illness.
Mr Andy Sim, Senior Social Worker from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) steered discussions and managed the flow of the programme, while other medical social workers from SGH together with KDF staff facilitated individual small group discussions, which were conducted in English, Mandarin and Malay.
During the discussion, participants were urged to think about what made each day meaningful, what they could not live without, and their greatest fears and worries. Despite the weight of the topic, the seminar progressed smoothly with most participants contributing to the group discussion with their frank and open responses.
The seminar was an informative and insightful one, where patients and their caregivers learnt the difference between Advance Care Planning, Advance Medical Directive and Lasting Power of Attorney, and how these different documents can complement each other to convey a person’s wishes on their future care.
This patient seminar was organised by Renal Friends, KDF’s patient support group.