Professor Sheila Payne, President of the European Association for Palliative Care and Director of the International Observatory on End of Life Care (IOELC), at Lancaster University, UK, presented an invited plenary talk on comparisons between international models of palliative and end of life care in Asia and globally, at the Asian Oncology Summit in Singapore on 15 April.
Professor Payne drew upon the mapping work undertaken by the IOELC and the EAPC Task Force on Development of Palliative Care. The Summit is the fourth such event organised by the prestigious journal Lancet Oncology. She also organised a workshop on development of palliative care in Asia with leading professionals from Singapore, including Professor Cynthia Goh, Dr Noreen Chan and Professor Edward Poon who covered important areas including medical treatment, public health and palliative care nursing, and Dr Andrew Davies from the UK spoke about supportive care in cancer. These presentations will form the basis for a framework for development of palliative care in Asia to be published in Lancet Oncology.
During her visit, Professor Payne also delivered a seminar on research about palliative care for patients with heart failure and stroke to more than 100 health professionals at Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital. This is a community hospital offering rehabilitation, stroke care and general medical services where Traditional Chinese Medicine is also available to patients alongside Western medicine. While good medical and nursing care was offered to all patients based upon need, there were clear demarcations in the standards of accommodation (mandated by the government) on the degree to which patients could afford to pay for their inpatient stays, with air conditioning not being available to those requiring the most subsidised provision. In the hot and humid weather of Singapore, this must be quite a hardship for some patients.