By Faye Chan, Connie Tong and Jean Woo
We refer to “‘I’m crying but I’m happy,’ says terminal cancer patient who views her final days as like a bittersweet film ending – filled with pain but also beautiful moments” (August 12), which highlighted the struggles faced by the cancer patient Keren Goldman. It is disheartening to learn that Goldman, while already burdened by her illness, is feeling as though she has no available options at the end of life.
As a response, we would like to bring attention to some valuable resources that can provide support to patients in their final stages. Launched in 2016, the Jockey Club End-of-Life Community Care Project aims at improving the quality of end-of-life care and raising public awareness in Hong Kong. Being one of its collaborating partners, the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing hosts a website that provides a comprehensive collection of resources to address the physical, psychosocial, emotional, and existential needs of patients facing the end of life. These resources cover a wide range of topics, such as treatment options, Advance Directive and Enduring Power of Attorney, and conversations in Advance Care Planning.
By accessing these self-help resources, patients affected by life-limiting illnesses can gain a better understanding of their own conditions, explore alternative treatment and care approaches that may enhance their quality of life during difficult times, communicate their wishes and preferences, and plan out the post-death arrangements in advance. Furthermore, these resources comprise real stories from people who are in the same boat as Goldman, which, by creating a sense of being understood and accompanied, can be empowering and therapeutic.
We hope that this letter will not only inform the public about the above resources, but also contribute to building a more compassionate and supportive society for terminal patients and their families. We believe that together we can make a significant difference in the lives of those facing end-of-life challenges.
Ms. Faye Chan, Nursing Officer, Ms. Connie Tong, Project Manager, Prof. Jean Woo, Director, CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing
This letter with revised version was published on South China Morning Post.