Pain and Suffering: Who's Responsibility is it?
On 17 April 2017 the YTL Foundation and Hospis Malaysia hosted a public lecture given by Professor Bee Wee, National Clinical Director for End of Life Care, NHS England Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Oxford, UK.
During the lecture and discussion time Professor Bee addressed the following important questions:
• Are we prepared as a community to work together to improve quality of life for those with advanced illness?
• Is society asking the right questions?
• Is palliative care an appropriate response?
• Whose responsibility is it? Each year around 150,000 in Malaysia die, for each
Each year around 150,000 in Malaysia die, for each person, there are many around them who are affected by caring, grief and loss. We recognise that dying, death and bereavement are inevitable parts of human experience. Yet, it remains a subject that is difficult to talk about and often ignored. This dialogue event hopes to add to and develop the conversation.
The central purpose of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients and families by reducing pain and suffering. It aims to help people live as well as possible and to die with dignity. Traditionally this has been the work of oncologists, physicians and other doctors who are experts in disease management.
The conversation is developing about a more holistic approach to palliative care. One that includes family, friends, neighbours, the workplace and healthcare professionals. This community-centered approach recognises that many of the problems people face are not ones that can always be, or are best resolved, by physicians and health care professionals alone, but by partnerships across the whole of the community. It proposes the benefit of enhancing the naturally supportive networks that exist. This is particularly relevant to end of life care, where people want to feel safe, often in familiar surroundings, cared for by those they know and trust.
The challenge is to find new ways of working to increase community capacity so that communities are more familiar with caring for the dying and the bereaved. This will require leadership, individual action and a preparedness to work together, across organisational boundaries.