The concept of Palliative Care is still quite new in Malaysia and there is a need to promote the awareness of its importance for patients with incurable and advanced illnesses, not only to the public but also to the nursing and medical professionals. These patients especially the poor ones very often have no one to turn to; they cannot afford to seek treatment from the private hospitals, they are turned away from acute General Hospitals and are told that there is nothing more to be done because their illnesses are no longer curable, they cannot pay for GPs to come to their homes, and there is difficulty in purchasing opiate drugs for pain relief. This is a retrospective observational study of the palliative care services we try to provide to those few patients referred to us. This study showed that out of the total of 156 patients, majority were Chinese, peak age between 50-59 years, referrals were mainly from the community and the Obstetrics + Gynaecology department, patients were referred rather late, 60% of patients died at home, most common malignancies being those of the breast, colorectal and cervix, common sites of metastases being the lungs, liver, bones, peritoneum and local infiltration, 87% of patients experienced pain, about 40% of patients were not fully aware of both diagnosis and prognosis, common drugs used being opiate analgesics followed by dexamethasone, H2 antagonist, antiemetics and NSAID.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.