(Hong Kong, 28 March 2011) Between 2007 and 2010, through the “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme, more than 1500 volunteers, 100 medical professionals, 8 hospice centers and the Li Ka Shing Foundation (“LKSF”) partnered to serve the complex needs of terminal-stage cancer patients with palliative care.
In more than 130,000 sessions, professionals and volunteers reached 8,000 patients and offered help to minimise pain and maximise comfort, providing support for loved ones and family members during tough times.
Now, in an expansion of the popular “Love HK Your Way!” the “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme will aim to increase Hong Kong’s current hospice care to provide a total of 160,000 hospice care sessions over the next three years. Additionally, members of the community will be able to get involved through an online hospice communication and information platform.
The expansion of services and community participation will come from a HK $40 million donation through 2013. Matching funds will be provided by the Hospital Authority. Beyond the extension of services introduced in the last four years, this new round of funding will serve 12,000 patients, providing 160,000 sessions expanding in 10 hospice centers located in the public hospitals.
Mr Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, Chairman of the Hospital Authority, expressed his appreciation to Mr Li for this new grant. “Because of your generous support, a greater number of people now recognise the important work of hospices and palliative services as an life-affirming alternative in improving the quality of life of patients and families. This will bring comfort to more in need and will engage Hong Kong citizens in a united effort to improve our community.”
“We are pleased to expand this programme,” said Mr Li, Chairman of the LKSF. “The world does not belong to stone-hearted man, our world needs caring men and women to help relieve the suffering of others. Hong Kong’s ranking in The Economist Magazine’s 2010 Quality of Death Index is a reminder that more needs to be done. It is heartening to see our doctors and volunteers dedicating their time with such gentleness and goodness toward those who depend upon their expertise and compassionate embrace. These heroes light up the beauty at the end of life’s journey.”
As part of the expanded programme, the LKSF has also launched a website called Hospice Home (www.hospicehome.hk), creating a one-stop platform for hospice service information and interaction.
Implemented in partnership with the Centre on Behavioral Health of the University of Hong Kong, the website aims to provide a venue for learning about various hospice services and facilitating communications and interactions among cancer patients, their families, medical staff and volunteers. Individuals are able to support and comfort those in need anytime and anywhere by sending them words of encouragement through the website. Now, more than ever, the value of technology and community is empowering, and the platform will provide direct and easy access to guide users, allowing them to offer support and empathy in a way that can make a huge difference in the lives of patients.
The website also offers a variety of videos clips, including one directed by renowned director Cheung King-wai. The short film, “Winter Sun,” follows a patient’s interaction with hospice caregivers. Director Cheung said he was amazed by the optimism of his subject, also a Mr Cheung, who has battled cancer for seven years. Through this encounter, Director Cheung discovered what it means to relieve suffering and restore dignity. As part of the film, Director Cheung shared with Mr Li that he dug up photographs and old VHS tapes from the patient’s library of historical snapshots of Hong Kong and used them in the short film.
Yu Tseng, founder of SkyHigh Creative Partners that participated in the design of the platform, also walked through the community sharing features available on the platform.
Members of the public are welcome to browse www.hospicehome.hk, which goes live today, and leave their comments.
About “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme and its second stage
The Li Ka Shing Foundation pioneered the charitable hospice movement in China in 1998 by launching the “Heart of Gold” Programme, under which the country’s first hospice care centre was set up at the First Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College.
This programme provides palliative treatment and psychological counsel to those terminally ill patients who are deprived financially. LKSF has so far donated more than HKD 400 million in support of 40 hospice centres across the mainland and Hong Kong, serving 20,000 patients each year. The programme has to date benefited more than 100,000 cancer patients.
Full report of the Economist Magazine’s 2010 Quality of Death Index, which Mr Li mentioned, can be viewed at:
The Economist report (Page 23) also mentioned LKSF”s free hospice service in the Mainland.
Summary of the second stage of the Hong Kong Programme
•Extends the Programme from 2011 to 2013
•Sets up new hospice day centres with homely and warm designs in Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital and North District Hospital, bringing the total number of day centres to 10
•Enhances development and training of hospice volunteers
•Works with local academics, medical and social organisations on joint researches and advocacy of hospice and death education, which has long been a taboo among the Chinese
•Establishes scientific research projects to encourage staff of the hospice centres and academics to organise service forums, and to raise service quality through researches
•The 10 hospitals taking part in the hospice programme include Queen Mary Hospital, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Grantham Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, United Christian Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, Tuen Mun Hospital, Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital and North District Hospital
Website of the Hospital Authority’s “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme:
About the website “Hospice Home” (www.hospicehome.hk)
•Provides an overview of hospice services in Hong Kong
•Study Room runs videos for private studies on palliative treatment, home care, counselling, nutrition knowledge and so on
•Forum provides an interactive platform for patients to share their experiences
•Life Book encourages patients to upload pictures and articles to share their stories.
•E-card enables people to send greeting e-cards to one another
•Cheer Up enables people to send e-flowers to show their support and encouragement
•Blog allows patients and families, medical staff and volunteers to upload articles or videos to express their feelings