To promote a positive attitude towards death and dying and to increase public awareness of hospice and palliative care, the 21st Hong Kong International Cancer Congress Hospice & Palliative Social Work Satellite Symposium “The Art of Palliative Social Work – Research, Practice and Beyond “, was held at the Auditorium in Hong Kong Council of Social Services Duke of Windsor Building today (November 20, 2014). The event was organized by the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and sponsored by the Li Ka Shing Foundation “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Program, with an attendance of about 400 healthcare professionals.
Professor Cecilia Chan officiated at the opening ceremony. She is the Head of Department of Social Work and Social Administration of HKU, Si Yuan Professor in Health and Social Work, as well as one of the Scientific Committee Members of the 21st Hong Kong International Cancer Congress. The half-day program consisted of two sessions: “Redefining Standards to Quality Care” and “Expanding Scope of Palliative Care”, with topics related to palliative social work practice and prospects in Taiwan, community-based palliative care movement, enhancing self-competence in helping professionals, best-practice end-of-life care models, creative practices for men counselling, community life and death education, and the development of elderly end-of-life services.
With demographic changes in Hong Kong, community-based hospice and palliative care has emerged as the latest trend of holistic and dignified care for individuals facing terminal illness, so that patients can receive care in a familiar place. To successfully deal with these new challenges, the professional healthcare team needs to equip themselves with empirical clinical knowledge and skills, and fully utilizes community resources, to provide patients with holistic care that takes their physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs into account. In this regard, organizational structure, resources allocation, social discourse and shared meaning in the effective planning and provision are all important areas to be addressed in the delivery of such community-based services. These issues related to end-of-life care were widely discussed at the symposium.
On the other hand, to optimize the existing provision of hospice and palliative care, active participation of the community is needed to raise public awareness and build consensus. Thus, life and death in the community is essential. However, with the salient Chinese traditional taboo on death, it is difficulty to talk about death-related issues. Moreover, in response to the aging population, there is a growing demand for death preparation for the elderly.
As organizer, the Department of Social Work and Social administration, The University of Hong Kong is one of the leaders in providing social work training in the field of hospice and palliative care. With an ageing population, the Department also introduced courses of “Life & Death Education”, “Holistic Care” and “Bereavement Support” to equip students and practitioners with evidence-based intervention techniques.
As sponsor, the Li Ka Shing Foundation “Heart of Gold” Hospice Service Programme set up the nation’s first free hospice at the First Affiliated Hospital of the Shantou University Medical College in 1998 as response to a growing need to serve terminally ill cancer patients in mainland China. The “Heart of Gold” National Hospice Service Program provides free hospice care for impoverished cancer patients at home, offering pain alleviation, psychological counseling, and other terminal care. The “Heart of Gold” Hospice Service Program has developed a nationwide network of 42 top-rated hospitals across Mainland China and Hong Kong. About 170,000 patients have benefited.
As part of the expanded program, the LKSF has also launched a website called Hospice Home (www.hospicehome.hk ), creating a one-stop platform for hospice service information and interaction. There are already over 490,000 online visits. In 2014, the LKSF introduced the Hospice Home App, further promoting public involvement in the discussion of Hong Kong hospice and palliative care development.
To date, the “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme:
– Served more than 230,000 primary cancer patients
– Over 2,800 volunteers were recruited and trained as hospice care ambassadors
– Provided more than 82,000 home care visits
– Provided more than 55,000 sessions of psychological counseling for patients and families
– Provided bereavement counseling for over 2,100 children and 1,900 families
Search for keywords “Hospicehome” or “寧舍” at Google Play or App Store for more updates!
Programme Rundown – 21st HKICC Hospice & Palliative Social Work Satellite Symposium (20 Nov 2014):
|Session 1: Redefining Standards to Quality Care
|Peaceful hospice – Palliative social work practice and prospects in Taiwan
Dr. Junhua Lee (Head of Clinical Social Work Division, Social Work Department, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan)
|Promoting palliative care in the community – The role of social workers
Dr. Amy Y. M. Chow (Associate Professor, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU; Associate Director, Sau Po Centre on Ageing, HKU)
|Walking with death – Self-competence of helping professionals
Dr. Wallace C. H. Chan (Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, CUHK)
|Setting New Standards – A novel Dignity-Conserving End-of-Life Care Pathway Model for Nursing Homes
Dr. Andy H.Y. Ho (Research Assistant Professor, Sau Po Centre on Ageing, HKU)
|Session 2: Expanding Scope of Palliative Care
|The Art of Grief – Creative Practices for Men Counselling
Ms Joe Huang (Assistant Social Work Officer, Department of Clinical Oncology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital)
|Let’s Talk About Death Today – Starting the Community End-of-Life Conversation
Ms. Pearl Tse (Founder & Consultant, Togetherness)
|From Cradle to Grave – Extending Services for the Ageing Hong Kong
Ms. Rita Chow (Service manager, Endless Care Services, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals)
Li Ka Shing Foundation Official Website: www.lksf.org
Li Ka Shing Foundation “Heart of Gold” Hong Kong Hospice Service Programme”:
Hospicehome Website: www.hospicehome.hk