Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems related to life-threatening illnesses, by preventing and relieving suffering through the management of pain and other physical, psychosocial, and spiritual issues.
The Department of Palliative Medicine in Selayang is the first specialist palliative care unit in Malaysia. The service started as a 4-bedded unit in December 2002 led by Dr Mary Cardosa, Consultant Anaesthetist and Pain Specialist, supported by a general physician, a medical officer and 4 nurses. In 2007, Dr Richard Lim returned from training as a Consultant Palliative Medicine Physician and took over as head of department. The service has since developed into a 14-bedded unit with a specialised clinical team of doctors, nurses and allied health staff.
The Palliative Care Unit in Hospital Selayang is a major subspecialty training site and continues to be a national hub for specialised clinical care, training, education and research in Palliative Medicine.
Providing palliative care to all who are in need
• To achieve universal pain and symptom relief in all cancer patients
• To achieve pain and symptom relief in non-cancerous life-threatening conditions
• To create unified effort by all healthcare providers to ensure holistic and comprehensive palliative care throughout the country providing a support system for patients wherever they may be
• To promote universal understanding on end-of-life issues, maintaining the ethical principles of medicine while upholding human dignity
• To provide comfort and relief of distressing physical symptoms related to advanced and incurable progressive life-threatening conditions
• To provide supoort to patients and family members facing psychosocial and spiritual issues related to incurable progressive life-threatening conditions
• To prevent and minimize suffering by early identification, impeccable assessment and prompt intervention of physical,psychosocial and spiritual problems related to incurable progressive life-threatening conditions
• To promote understanding and respect towards patients at the end of life and to prevent unnecessary and futile interventions in order to allow a peaceful and dignified death
• To promote education in the field of palliative care for both healthcare and non-healthcare professionals
1) Inpatient Palliative Care
The Department of Palliative Medicine has a 14-bedded Palliative Care Unit (PCU) in ward 4C, located at level 4 in Hospital Selayang.The PCU provides 24hours inpatient care.Apart from this, consultative palliative care is also available to all wards throughout Hospital Selayang.
2) Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic
The outpatient palliative care clinic is run every Friday morning where patients are followed up and reviewed. Patients and accompanying carers can opt to participate in the concurrent day care service run by registered palliative care volunteers. Patients seen in clinic who require further inpatient care can be directly admitted to the PCU in ward 4C.
3) Palliative Care Walk-In Services
During office hours, the PCU provides a unique walk-in outpatient service for patients known to the palliative care team. This service aims to improve access to care for palliative care patients requiring immediate medical attention, and avoids long waiting times at the emergency department or other outpatient settings.
After office hours, during weekends and public holidays, patients will still be required to present to the emergency department for hospital care.
4) Palliative Day Care Services
Palliative Day Care is defined as “a service that enhances the independence and quality of life of patients through rehabilitation, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, the management and monitoring of symptoms and provision of psychosocial support. It is set in the context of social interaction, mutual support and friendship, and may provide some physical care and respite to carers.”(NCHSPCS, London 2000)
The Selayang PCU day care is run concurrently with the outpatient palliative care clinic, in collaboration with registered palliative care volunteers from Hospice Kasih (a non-governmental organisation). Every Friday morning, the day care services will be made available to patients and their carers from the inpatient and outpatient services.
Through purposeful fun-filled, interactive activities, it is hoped that patients and carers will feel more supported and better able to cope with demands of their illness. By meeting some of the psychosocial and spiritual needs of patients and carers, we hope to encourage a more positive outlook and allow patients to live life to the full within limits set by their illness.
5) Subspecialty Training& Research Centre
Palliative Medicine was recognised as a medical subspecialty in the Ministry of Health from 2005. The PCU in Hospital Selayang is an accredited training site for the palliative medicine subspecialty training programme with 3 accredited supervisors / trainers. Research and quality improvement activities are carried out regularly to ensure Selayang PCU practices are in line with best clinical practices in the field of Palliative Medicine. Research activity is often carried out in collaboration with other palliative care providers in the Ministry of Health hospitals, Ministry of Education, private institutions, non-governmental organisations as well as researchers from the National Institutes of Health (e.g. Clinical Research Centre).
Selayang PCU is a major subspecialty training site and continues to be a national hub for specialised clinical care, training, education and research in Palliative Medicine.
Creative activities in Day Care Tea time at Day Care
Patient getting a manicure and a new hairdo at Day Care