SINGAPORE — Mention a hospice and no one would expect to be served alcoholic drinks at such a facility.
Patients of the Oasis@Outram day hospice, however, can have that experience at its open bar. After all, medical reasons aside, why shouldn't a terminally ill person be allowed to enjoy a drink?
Offering such autonomy is at the heart of the ethos of the newly opened hospice, which aims to redefine end-of-life caregiving in Singapore by focusing on respecting dignity and promoting personal growth.
Besides its alcohol offerings at the bar, the 900 sq m facility located within the Outram Community Hospital also features a "spalon" for manicures, massages and haircuts, a mini-cinema, a dental clinic, a café, a "secret" mahjong room, and a kids' room with jacuzzi.
Unlike other day hospices where patients follow a schedule of mandatory activities, those at Oasis@Outram can choose what they want to do from a daily list – such as chair yoga, art classes, baking and horticulture – or opt to not participate in anything and just socialise with their friends.
Another unique aspect of the hospice is its use of various toolkits to help its trained caregivers engage in difficult but important conversations with their patients on end-of-life topics. For instance, the Bite Size Future kit involves patients receiving a snack or piece of candy after picking a card containing questions such as "Where do you want to die?" or "How would you like to be remembered?".
The hospice was established through a partnership between HCA Hospice Care (HCA), Singapore's largest home hospice care provider, and the Lien Foundation – with the foundation providing a $2.47 million gift to get the facility started.
"In spaces run by charities, functionality is often prioritised over design. But well-designed spaces can sometimes bring healing and dignity when human companions can't, especially for social-emotional challenges," said Lien Foundation's programme director Gabriel Lim in a joint media release by both organisations.
"We hope Oasis@Outram inspires the design of similar facilities in future," he added.
Once fully launched in January next year, Oasis@Outram will be able to receive 45 adult patients and three paediatric patients daily, and will operate from 7am to 7pm. Its services are provided free of charge, with patients being referred to the facility through HCA.
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