The 8th Annual Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population, jointly organized by the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK); Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Li Ka Shing Foundation ‘Heart of Gold’ Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme, was held at the Prince of Wales Hospital on January 18. Over a hundred local medical practitioners, nurse consultants and occupational therapists spoke of their experiences and exchanged views on the topics of palliative care. Professor Anthony CHAN, Associate Dean (External Affairs) of Faculty of Medicine, CUHK; Dr CHEUNG Chi-wai, Assistant Dean (Private Sector Liaison) of Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU; Dr CHEUNG Wai-lun, Director (Cluster Services) of Hospital Authority and Li Ka Shing Foundation representative officiated at the opening ceremony of the Symposium.
Current palliative care services in Hong Kong are mainly hospital based, and has gained increasing attention in society in recent years. This year’s Symposium was themed ‘Advancing Palliative Care in Hong Kong: Opportunities & Challenges’, providing a platform for practitioners to discuss the way forward of local palliative care services.
Professor Anthony CHAN, Associate Dean (External Affairs) of CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine, remarked, ‘With a rapidly ageing population in Hong Kong, the demand for palliative care services is ever increasing. It is important to build a platform for practitioners to give their insights and promote education as well as research of palliative care. Our Faculty has been dedicated to nurturing competent and compassionate doctors who are open to providing suitable and holistic treatment for the best interests of patients. Our ultimate goal is to enable patients to live with dignity in their final days of life.’
Dr CHEUNG Chi-wai, Assistant Dean (Private Sector Liaison) of Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU, said, “We have to develop a modernized and international palliative care system to cater to the needs of local patients. Experience and advice of medical and healthcare professionals are important in drawing up healthcare policies and making treatment decision.”
Dr CHEUNG Wai-lun, Director (Cluster Services) of Hospital Authority, noted that with the aim to provide holistic care to patients, Hospital Authority (HA) has been providing palliative care services with a comprehensive service model for terminally-ill patients and their families through a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Currently, there are 16 hospitals under HA providing palliative care services. Moreover, in collaboration with the Li Ka Shing Foundation, 10 palliative care day centres have been jointly established to provide services and support to patients and their families.
The keynote speaker, Professor Wallace CHAN, Associate Professor from Department of Social Work, CUHK, said that palliative care in Hong Kong is developing rapidly but it is of primary importance to ensure the quality of care. He opined that when palliative care becomes highly routinized, it may also become over-rigidly bureaucratic. Professor CHAN encouraged health care professionals to be conscious of this challenge and equip themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills, including practising empathy when taking care of the patients.
About The Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population
This annual Symposium is sponsored and supported by the Li Ka Shing Foundation. The Foundation aims at contributing to society by helping those in need to build a better life. Its munificent support in health care has benefited countless patients in Hong Kong, Mainland China and worldwide. In 1998, the Foundation pioneered free hospice care services in the mainland with the establishment of the ‘Heart of Gold’ Hospice Service Programme. The Foundation’s total donation of over HK$700 million has supported 42 hospice centres in the Mainland and Hong Kong, serving 20,000 patients annually and benefitting nearly 180,000 cancer patients.
Ms Jackie Chan, Assistant Communications Manager, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK (Tel: 2632 4375)
Ms Pinky Yu, Senior Project Officer, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU (Tel: 3917 9306)