The hospital currently consists of hospice palliative medicine specialists Wen-yuan Lin, Hua-shui Hsu, Po-tsung Huang, and Ching-chun Lin for providing palliative care outpatient services, preliminary assessment of referrals from other hospitals who have never received the hospital's palliative care, and outpatient follow-up services for patients who receive palliative care at home.
Pain is one of the most common symptoms of inpatients in the palliative care ward.
Palliative care provides active pain assessment and control and the best quality of care against cancer pain through full care of body, mind, and soul.
On top of pain, constipation, pants, loss of appetite, wound management, change of consciousness, infection, ascites, edema, and electrolyte imbalance are also common problems among terminal cancer patients, which can be relieved by drugs, nursing, and health education guidance.
Patients to receive palliative care may be hospitalized via the following three channels:
- Conduct outpatient evaluations and confirm the need to be hospitalized.
- The patients are still hospitalized in other specialties in the hospital or admitted via the emergency room. They are fit for transfer according to a consultant's assessment through consultation and palliative care.
- The patients are palliative home care cases and need to be hospitalized after a palliative home care nurse identifies their acute symptoms and verify the needs.
The palliative care team in the Meide ward combines with the duties and concerns of physicians, nurses, chaplains, psychologists, social workers, and volunteers to offer patients integrated care, with China Medical University Hospital (CMUH) specialties as a backup. Every day, members of the team gather to discuss the status of the patient's body, mind, and soul, brainstorm the most suitable way of intervention, and coordinate the work of the team to jointly deal with the patients' body, mind, and soul issues, so as to provide the best quality of care. The hospital’s Meide ward team is composed of the following members:
- Doctors: We have specialists for hospice palliative care who coordinate with all the specialists in the hospital for shared care and draw up treatment plans for all kinds of physical and mental symptoms of advanced-stage patients.
- Ward nursing staff: The ward is staffed with a nursing supervisor, head nuse and nurses, providing nursing care and medication for the control of symptoms.
- Home care nurses: offer hospice home-care patients follow-up care and home visits.
- Hospice shared care nurses: Assist advanced-stage patients in other specialties with hospice care services.
- Social workers: Solve family interaction issues and help the patients and their family members' economic problems.
- Chaplains: A Taoist priest or Christian priest provides spiritual support.
- Psychologists: Provide professional psychological consultation and talks.
- Volunteers: Keep the patient company and listen to their thoughts, as well as help the activities in the ward.
- Others: Pharmacists, dietitians, physiotherapists, art therapists, music therapists, and fine arts therapists for giving assistance to responsible ward staff and arranging a wide variety of activities.
The palliative home care is aimed at the following patients:
- Those discharged for follow-up consultations after in the Meide ward.
- Advanced-stage patients who do not need to be hospitalized after a palliative clinic assessment, but require follow-up care.
- Those discharged for follow-up consultations after receiving hospice shared care.
After the patient is discharged from the hospital, we will arrange regular follow-up home visits as a continuation of hospice palliative care. Home care nurses are also a bridge of communication between the discharged patients/ their families and the Meide hospice care team.
We have promoted the idea and way of hospice care to terminal cancer patients in the non-hospice ward. By means of hospice shared care, we will gradually implement this goal, so that all terminally ill patients can obtain good care of body, mind, and soul.
The purpose of hospice shared care is to enable advanced-stage patients in the hospital to gain access to palliative care services. We have improved the palliative care skills of medical staff, patients, and their family members with the service of hospice shared care.