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City Reports on Progress of Community Hospice Care Program

Mayor Ko Wen-je shared with the media the initial progress of the city government’s Urban Community Hospice Care Service during the press conference following the City Executive Meeting on March 10. Several family members of subscribing patients also attended the event to share their firsthand experience.
The mayor explained that the program seeks to bring medical experts from the hospital into the home of individual patients. This approach may look difficult, but is achievable with a change of perspectives. However, he admits that much effort is needed to convince the doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. Seeing the city government as a team providing the services, he believes that things should be done if there is a need among the public.
Taipei City Hospital Superintendent Huang Sheng-jean noted that the program, implemented in January of 2015, has accepted 118 patients from Taipei City and New Taipei City as of March 6. Among these, non-cancer patients accounts for 44.1-percent of the service subscribers. He reported that 56 patients have passed away peacefully, and 16 have expressed their wish to spend the last days at home.
Ko remarked that Huang was his colleague at National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital. Both he and Huang realize that no matter how knowledgeable a doctor can be, there is always a limit to medical care. To help patients with terminal illness enjoy quality care in the last stages, the two doctors supported legislation related with hospice care.
The mayor added that Huang has acquired successful experience in the implementation of community-based hospice care program during his stint as the superintendent of NTU Hospital’s Jinshan Branch Hospital. He hopes that Huang can now utilize his experience at Jinshan to the city government’s project.
Regarding the question of funding once the program has been implemented on a regular basis, Huang noted that the expense will be covered by the National Health Insurance Program, which has implemented regulations related with hospice care in 2014. He noted that hospice care also has the added benefit of saving healthcare expense – a patient receiving care in the intensive ward might require about NT$30,000 a day, while those receiving hospice care at home average around NT$50,000 a month. Nonetheless, the primary advantage of hospice care is the assurance patients receive from being at home.