At Bright Vision Hospital (BVH), palliative care is more than just about relieving pain and physical symptoms. It’s about treating patients holistically – body, mind and soul.

Palliative or end-of-life patients often feel like they’ve lost everything including their sense of self. To empower patients, BVH’s multidisciplinary team of medical staff and allied health professionals regularly organises activities that help build self-esteem and foster interaction.

One example of such an activity where all patients, even bedridden ones, are encouraged to participate is the weekly group therapy exercises, which takes place every Friday morning from 9am to 10am. Here, occupational therapists and physiotherapists lead patients in a range of motion exercises that simulates playing games like badminton and bowling.

“For bedridden patients, we will move them (together with their beds) to the hall to be with the other patients. Some are able to move their limbs despite their condition, and by allowing them to join in the group therapy, it gives them a sense of participation.” 

Yumi Watanabe, BVH Occupational Therapist (Rehabilitation)

Another activity that is always a hit with the patients is the weekly cooking sessions, which take place Thursday mornings from 10am to 11am. For this activity, patients get to choose and prepare foods that are different from the usual hospital meals. By assigning each patient with a task such as seasoning, preparing and cleaning, it helps build confidence and independence. The patients also get to enjoy what they’ve prepared.

For patients who have difficulty sleeping, relaxation therapy offers soothing music and scents. There is also mental wellness support provided by medical social workers, to help patients and caregivers cope with their worries and fears.

Patients can also look forward to monthly outings such as a hawker lunch followed by a short grocery run. While considered mundane to most of us, such familiar activities encourage socialising.

Patients are even brought to popular Singapore attractions like Gardens by the Bay,
the S.E.A Aquarium and Lau Pa Sat about four times yearly, with patients getting to choose their preferred attraction.

 In the end, it’s not just the patients that enjoy these activities, but so do the staff and volunteers.

BVH volunteers (from left to right): Sabrina Lim, Madam Chua Chee Koon, Caral Goh and Christie Yeo

“It (bringing patients out) is a simple act of kindness, but it brings me great joy to see them (patients)
enjoy their favourite food and the outing.  Their smiles always brighten my day.”

Volunteer Caral Goh

Palliative patients at BVH
Currently, BVH has 19 palliative patients – 11 males and 8 females, with the oldest being 93 years of age while the youngest is 45 years old. Life-limiting illnesses suffered by these patients can be wide ranging with the most common being cancer, organ failure and advanced neurological conditions such as advanced dementia. The Faith Ward, BVH’s only palliative ward, consists of 24 beds including 12 male beds, 10 female beds and 4 single rooms.