Hippocratic Film – Working in Palliative Care

In this short clip, Dr Rajagopal talks about the joy that palliative care brings.

The full film of Hippocratic will be released on 14 October 2017 for WHPCD.

What is your organisation doing for the WHPCD? Let us know in the comments below or email us at aphn@aphn.org!

APHN Mini Interview Series – Dr Ong Wah Ying, Singapore

Dr Ong Wah Ying

Dr Ong Wah Ying

This interview is the first of the mini interview series featuring members of the 17th Council of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN).

In this issue, we are interviewing Dr Ong Wah Ying, the appointed council member[1] from Singapore.  Dr Ong is also the Medical Director of Dover Park Hospice (DPH) and a council member of the Singapore Hospice Council (SHC), the national umbrella body.

What is something about you that will surprise people?

I used to be the squash captain back in high school! People find it surprising because I hardly exercise nowadays. But I still have a lot of hidden energy in me!

You learnt how to cook when spending 6 months (under the Ministry of Health’s Health Manpower Development Plan) with Southern Adelaide Palliative Care services. What was the experience like?

There was a smoke detector in the apartment and the fire engine will arrive if I do any heavy cooking. So I learned how to cook rice using the microwave oven and that is an achievement! I will mix it with my canned tuna and sometimes hard boiled eggs too!

If you were to choose an object to represent the journey in palliative care, what will it be and why?

I would think it will be a rubber band! Sometimes we need to stretch like a rubber band in order to tie things together. But at the same time, we need to be careful not to overstretch till we snap.

In order to do our line of work, we must try. We must go all the way. We are passionate people. Especially during the training years, most of the time we feel like we can do everything. But we really have to learn to find our own limits along the way and find out when to ask for help from team members. Sometimes we do not even recognise that we are fatigued. Many of us, including me, learned this the hard way.

A rubber band will return to its original shape after stretching. So my experience is to do more when it is time to do more and come back to the original shape. Look for more rubber bands if you need strength and learn to shoot if your target is far away!

Do you see any synergies in the roles you play at DPH, SHC and APHN? What are some areas you think Singapore can be more involved on a regional level?

Yes, definitely. I think APHN needs a greater presence in Singapore. It is important for us to be part of the collective voice for important issues, like stating our stand against euthanasia. The local community needs to know that we cannot be isolated. A lot more can be done in terms of bringing information and ideas across and back. We can collaborate to further extend our local education arms.

Having more involvement from medical students, trainees and various levels of staff will give them greater exposure and broaden their horizon. By being part of a common interest group, we can learn from each other, and be more aware of the updates of developments in services, education and research around the region. We can also leverage on existing knowledge and research to share with other countries, such as by hosting people for attachments and visitors from the region.

I believe that Singapore can contribute by sharing our experiences in non cancers like dementia, how we start-up services as well as new discoveries in the field through the APHN dialog platform. In addition to coordinating sharing by experts in our country, we can learn from experts in the region too. This is something I hope to build across the three organisations.


[1] The APHN Council consists of 7 members to be appointed by sectors on a rotation to be determined alphabetically according to the name of the sectors (Constitution 12.2a), 7 elected members, and 6 Co-opted member.

The article first appeared in the APHN newsletter Issue 33. Read here.

By: Joyce Chee, APHN Executive

Singapore Statement

The Singapore Statement was issued at the 12th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference held in Singapore from 26th – 29th July.

Photo Credit: HPM Global

Singapore Statement

We participants of the 12th International Conference of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network on 28 July 2017 in Singapore,

  • finding that there is a huge burden of unrelieved suffering associated with life limiting illnesses in the region,
  • viewing with concern that less than 10% of those in need have access to pain relief and palliative care globally, and
  • aware of the World Health Assembly resolution of 2014[1] which calls on all member countries’ health systems to integrate evidence-based, cost effective and equitable palliative care services in the continuum of care, community and home based care and universal coverage schemes,

request member states in the region to ensure:

  • adequate funding and effective implementation of national palliative care strategies to implement palliative care in the region,
  • the inclusion of palliative care in non-communicable diseases control programs and in HIV and TB control programs,
  • inclusion of palliative care education in basic education for all health professionals, and
  • improving access to palliative care for children and young people.

[1] Reference: World Health Organisation. World Health Assembly WHA 67.19 Agenda Item 15.5. Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course. Available at http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA67/A67_R19-en.pdf

Launch of first Chinese educational video on children’s palliative care

This article was originally from ehospice.

Led by Butterfly Children’s Hospice, using a grant received from the Overseas Chinese Charity Foundation, the first Chinese language educational video was created to educate and promote the concept of palliative care. Mothers, health and social care staff from China and Hong Kong are featured in this video, which emphasises on quality of life for children and their families, also introduces the full range of care providers and services.

Read the full article here.


Will you be showing a video during World Hospice Palliative Care Day 2017? Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know!

Hospice patient gets his wish to visit new Leica Store

Freelancer photographer Alan Lee, a patient staying at the Assisi Hospice, suffers from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. To fulfill his wish of visiting the new renowned camera store in Fullerton Hotel, the clinical team at the hospice came together to plan the trip out. It includes an hour-long tour of the gallery inside the store, and showed the effort of the team in maintaining Mr Lee’s quality of life despite his condition.

Read the full article here.


Organising an outing for your patients who are staying in the hospices in conjunction with World Hospice Palliative Care Day 2017? Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know and add your event on their website!

A video game to help people cope with grief

This article was originally on eHospice.

“We made a video game that’s hard to play. It will never be a blockbuster. People have to prepare themselves to invest emotionally in a story that they know will break their hearts. But when our hearts break, they heal a little differently. My broken heart has been healing with a new and a deeper compassion — a desire to sit with people in their pain, to hear their stories and try to help tell them so that they know that they’re seen. We made a video game that’s hard to play. But that feels just right to me, because the hardest moments of our lives change us more than any goal we could ever accomplish. Tragedy has shifted my heart more than any dream I could ever see come true.” – Amy Green, creator of the video game ‘That Dragon, Cancer’

Read the full article here.


A plot that tugs at your heart, lifelike graphics, a simple impactful message. The message of  World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care – Don’t leave those suffering behind, can be relayed in the form of a game. Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know what activities will you be having to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care.

Pushing Up Daisies

Pushing Up Daisies, also a euphemism for being dead, is a lively week-long festival held yearly in the town of Todmorden. Started by three ladies who wanted to encourage their community to be comfortable in having end-of-life conversations, it resulted in an annual event where exhibitions, workshops, performances are held to create opportunities for people to think about, plan and talk about death.

Read more on Pushing Up Daisies here.

Watch the video by the Lien Foundation on Pushing Up Daisies here.


Are you inspired to start our own series of events? Please remember to credit “Pushing Up Daisies” if you used any of their ideas. Don’t forget to add your event to the list for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017. Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know what activities you will be having to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care.

‘Happy Death Day’ – palliative care and death awareness exhibition held in Thailand

This article was originally from eHospice.

Some 3,300 participants, with another 30,000 people watching the exhibition online, attended the ‘Happy Death Day’ palliative care and death awareness exhibition. The exhibition consisted of various zones, consisted of a talk on how to prepare for death and a ‘Last Talk’ session where people diagnosed with terminal illnesses share their experiences, feelings, hopes and dreams. The second day saw participants reflecting on their lives while lying in a coffin at the exhibition and interacting with speakers, patients, carers and the healthcare team at the ‘Death Cafe’, a casual setting to promote conversations on palliative care or death-related issues.

Read the full article here.


An exhibition is an interactive way to promote awareness of hospice and palliative care during World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know what activities you will be having to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care.

We all grieve for lost loved ones. Here’s how one photographer dealt with it in his own way.

This article was originally from PCAeNews.

Erik Simander pursued the photo project to cope with the sudden loss of his grandmother. Through it, he managed to spend time with his grandfather, helping him cope with the sudden death of his wife, before his eventual passing. “The death of one partner before the other—is inevitable, and the subject is maybe a bit taboo. No one likes to talk about it, but it happens.” -Erik Simander

Read the full article here.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Hold a photo exhibition to celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care – Don’t leave those suffering behind. Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know what activities will you be having to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care.

Living with dementia: carers’ experiences in their own words

This article was originally on Palliative Matters.

This is the second time palliative care nurse consultant James Daley has used hired actors and verbatim storytelling to bring stories to the stage. The script, which features first-hand accounts by carers of people with dementia whom Mr Daley interviewed, was jointly written by Dr Jane Tolman and Dr Elspeth Correy and Mr James Daley himself. To improve understanding of dementia, facilities managers of residential aged care facilities in Bathurst were keen on supporting the project. They feel that families “don’t understand that it is a terminal illness” when they bring people with dementia to nursing homes, which makes it more difficult for them to instigate the palliative approach.

Read the full article here.


Drama is a fun-filled way of presenting heartfelt stories of our patients’ daily interactions. Will your organisation be putting up a drama production for the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day? The theme for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017 is: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care – Don’t leave those suffering behind, and will be held on 14 October. Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know what activities will you be having to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care.

APHN Dialog Session #6: Management of Total Pain

Welcome to the 6th Session of the APHN Dialogue!

In this session, Dr Raymond Woo from Hong Kong will be speaking on the topic of “Management of Total Pain”.

This webinar is FREE for all palliative care colleagues! Sign up NOW!

Please email aphn@aphn.org for enquiries.

SHC-LCPC August 2017 – Journeying with Persons with Dementia in a Hospice

For further information or enquiries, please email lcpc@duke-nus.edu.sg.