End-of-life care experts have called for authorities to increase the affordability of palliative care by having it covered by insurance. Demand is expected to double in the next five years, and at present, insurance companies in Singapore and MediShield Life do not cover palliative care in hospices.
As a result, patients are therefore staying in hospitals longer than required.
“Some patients are stuck in hospital because their insurance plans do not cover care at a hospice. Insurance companies here still have not realised that better care can be obtained at a hospice at a fraction of the cost of the hospital," said Dr Cynthia Goh, senior consultant at the National Cancer Centre Singapore and chair of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network.
The recommendations by experts come after results from the Quality of Death Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (released on 6 October), stated that Singapore is the 12th best place in the world to die, making it second best in Asia behind Taiwan. The index was commissioned by the Lien Foundation.
According to the index of 80 countries, Singapore ranks strongest in affordability of care (sixth place), followed by a tie in quality of care (eighth) and human resources (eighth).
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Source: “Offer coverage for end-of-life care: Experts” (Straits Times, 15 October 2015) and Quality of Death Index 2015 (Economist Intelligence Unit)