The first year of an independent hospice in Hong Kong.
Sham MK., Wee BL.
Two hundred and ninety-nine patients admitted to the Bradbury Hospice, Hong Kong, during the period from 1 June 1992 to 31 May 1993 were studied. While a majority of the patients held realistic expectations of the hospice service, a small percentage expected cure, prolongation of life or even euthanasia. Physical symptoms were the main concern in a vast majority of patients, the commonest being pain. Only 1.7% regarded psycho-social problems as their main distress. Morphine was widely used for pain control, although 68% of patients required co-analgesics or palliative radiotherapy as well. Morphine was also the mainstay of treatment for dyspnoea. It might be worthwhile for hospices to be equipped with oxygen, as approximately 71% of our patients with dyspnoea as their main distress benefited from oxygen therapy. Many patients expressed fear of death; more worried about suffering. While 17.7% were assessed to be in the stage of acceptance on admission, 14.7% expressed self-pity when their search for meaning failed. Although many patients were atheists, a majority of patients with religious beliefs found that they could get support from their faith. A significant number of patients believed in Shumei. Increased knowledge of this religion would be helpful in taking care of these patients.