Hospice Visits in Taiwan

MacKay Hospice and Palliative Care Center

On 22nd April 2019, we had the privilege of visiting two different hospices in Taipei. We started off the morning by heading over to MacKay Hospice and Palliative Care Center. The staff graciously brought us around and introduced the different aspects of their Hospice Palliative Care Center. From each room to the equipment to the paintings on the walls, every detail was specially curated for the palliative care patients.

Within the general area, the concept behind the layout was to give off a homely atmosphere so patients would feel more at ease.

Picture 1: This area resembles a living room space with comfortable couches for patients to gather, along with a piano and television for entertainment. On designated days during the week, various activities are held in that space to engage the patients.

Picture 2: The view from the living room space looks out towards the garden area where patients can take walks and enjoy the fresh air outside (Picture 3).

Nearby, there is a table where relatives and friends may leave their well wishes and words of encouragement for the patients to read.

This area has a skylight so patients have the option to sit below and enjoy the sunlight instead of going outside. The circular wall has been creatively painted with a carousel motif.

Along the hallway, there is a designated room for family meetings.

This outdoor area that leads to the fish pond is situated right outside the patient’s room which is accessible by the backdoor of their rooms. The patient can choose to draw the curtains so they can have a view of the pond.

They have an assisted bath for patients with challenging conditions. There is a vertical-raising, side-entry door that ensures easier access.

We were taken to another part of the hospital to have a look at the cancer ward area, where we saw a couple of rooms designated for their religious patients to have an area to pray.

One of their nurses even shared a story about how a particular series of artworks on their wall (see picture above) was painted by one of the patients.

Dah-Der Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation at Taipei Veterans General Hospital

We headed to Dah-Der Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation in the afternoon where we met Professor Chantal Co-Shi Chao, a nurse turned educator who introduced the concept of palliative care to Taiwan. She and two other nurses kindly took us on a tour of the palliative ward.

They also had an area that resembles a living room for the patients to gather.

The outdoor rooftop garden area outside the living room space is for both patients and their families to relax. In the rightmost picture, next to the table and chairs, there is a washing machine and dryer (not in the picture) for families to do their laundry.

One of the most unique aspects of the palliative ward was this particular room in the leftmost picture above. They had designated a large room with a single hospital bed and an altar in front of the bed. Some families conduct prayer rituals for their loved ones and this room allows them to have the privacy and space for such a situation. We were told that the altar had interchangeable sliding boards for the different religions, should they require it for prayers. The area in the picture on the right is for the family members to rest while attending to their loved ones after a long period of time.

Other interesting aspects of the palliative ward included a therapy dog, an aromatherapy game created especially for their patients and a mobile hair washing station for patients with difficulty in mobility.

We managed to take a look into an empty ward as well.

After visiting the two hospice services, I was touched by the people and the amount of effort and thought that was put into creating an environment tailored to palliative care patients. In palliative care, it is important to have the right person to carry out the right task at the right time. Both services have an interdisciplinary team within their unit and everyone that we had met spoke about their work with such sincerity.

We would sincerely like to thank the team at MacKay Hospice and Palliative Care Center and Dah-Der Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation for allowing us to get a glimpse into the hospice services in Taiwan and taking the time to bring us around while providing such in-depth explanations about their services.

Written by: Trudy Giam, APHN Executive

Edited by: Ms Djin Lai, APHN Volunteer Editor

Published on: 12 June, 2019 | Last modified: 15 November, 2019