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  1. Yamaguchi T, Kuriya M, Morita T, Agar M, Choi YS, Goh C, et al.
    BMJ Support Palliat Care, 2017 Mar;7(1):23-31.
    PMID: 25012126 DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2013-000588
    BACKGROUND: Although palliative care is an important public healthcare issue worldwide, the current situation in the Asia-Pacific region has not been systematically evaluated.

    OBJECTIVES: This survey aimed to clarify the current status of palliative care in the Asia-Pacific region.

    METHODS: Questionnaires were sent to a representative physician of each member country/region of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN). The questionnaire examined palliative care service provision, information regarding physician certification in palliative care, the availability of essential drugs for palliative care listed by the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) and the regulation of opioid-prescribing practice.

    RESULTS: Of the 14 member countries/regions of the APHN, 12 (86%) responded. Some form of specialist palliative care services had developed in all the responding countries/regions. Eight member countries/regions had physician certifications for palliative care. Most essential drugs for palliative care listed by the IAHPC were available, whereas hydromorphone, oxycodone and transmucosal fentanyl were unavailable in most countries/regions. Six member countries/regions required permission to prescribe and receive opioids.

    CONCLUSIONS: The development of palliative care is in different stages across the surveyed countries/regions in the Asia-Pacific region. Data from this survey can be used as baseline data for monitoring the development of palliative care in this region.

  2. Chong PH, Hamsah E, Goh C
    BMJ Support Palliat Care, 2017 Mar;7(1):17-22.
    PMID: 26338851 DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2014-000812
    Paediatric palliative care services have increased both in numbers and capacity around the world in response to the needs of children living with life-limiting conditions. Members of the Asia Pacific Hospice Network, who render care to children, have increasingly realised the need to map existing services for enhanced collaborative, educational and advocacy efforts. An online survey was conducted over 2 months among professionals in the region to document current service provision, and at the same time to explore individual training needs and practice challenges. A questionnaire crafted through consensus by members of a new special interest group within the network was used to collect data. 59 distinct responses from 16 countries were obtained to build a directory, which has already been circulated. Content analyses of narrative responses yield further findings. Half of these services catered to adults as well as to children. Staffing and service provision varied across the region but most members worked in teams consisting of multidisciplinary professionals. Numerous service and funding models were found, reflecting wide differences in local conditions and responses to diverse patient populations unique to paediatric palliative care. The highest training needs centred around bereavement and spiritual care. Capacity and funding issues were expected, but significant lack of support by paediatricians was found to be alarming and warrants further study. Amid the heterogeneity, these services share common struggles and face similar needs. Identifying individual profiles of different services potentially helps to draw everyone together, towards a common vision, and towards creating opportunities for sharing of expertise and experience.
  3. Tan SB, Loh EC, Lam CL, Ng CG, Lim EJ, Boey CCM
    BMJ Support Palliat Care, 2019 Mar;9(1):e19.
    PMID: 27098972 DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2015-001064
    Although suffering in palliative care has received increasing attention over the past decade, the psychological processes that underpin suffering remain relatively unexplored.

    OBJECTIVE: To understand the psychological processes involved in the experiencing of suffering at the end phase of life.

    METHODS: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 20 palliative care inpatients from an academic medical centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The transcripts were thematically analysed with NVIVO9.

    RESULTS: 5 themes of psychological processes of suffering were generated: (1) perceptions, (2) cognitive appraisals, (3) hope and the struggles with acceptance, (4) emotions and (5) clinging. A model of suffering formation was constructed.

    CONCLUSION: The findings may inform the development of mechanism-based interventions in the palliation of suffering.

  4. Yang SL, Woon YL, Teoh CCO, Leong CT, Lim RBL
    PMID: 32826260 DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002283
    OBJECTIVES: To estimate past trends and future projection of adult palliative care needs in Malaysia.

    METHODS: This is a population-based secondary data analysis using the national mortality registry from 2004 to 2014. Past trend estimation was conducted using Murtagh's minimum and maximum methods and Gómez-Batiste's method. The estimated palliative care needs were stratified by age groups, gender and administrative states in Malaysia. With this, the projection of palliative care needs up to 2030 was conducted under the assumption that annual change remains constant.

    RESULTS: The palliative care needs in Malaysia followed an apparent upward trend over the years regardless of the estimation methods. Murtagh's minimum estimation method showed that palliative care needs grew 40% from 71 675 cases in 2004 to 100 034 cases in 2014. The proportion of palliative care needs in relation to deaths hovered at 71% in the observed years. In 2030, Malaysia should anticipate the population needs to be at least 239 713 cases (240% growth from 2014), with the highest needs among age group ≥80-year-old in both genders. Sarawak, Perak, Johor, Selangor and Kedah will become the top five Malaysian states with the highest number of needs in 2030.

    CONCLUSION: The need for palliative care in Malaysia will continue to rise and surpass its service provision. This trend demands a stepped-up provision from the national health system with advanced integration of palliative care services to narrow the gap between needs and supply.

  5. Look ML, Tan SB, Hong LL, Ng CG, Yee HA, Lim LY, et al.
    PMID: 32788274 DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002382
    CONTEXT: There has been increasing evidence of the role of mindfulness-based interventions in improving various health conditions. However, the evidence for the use of mindfulness in the palliative care setting is still lacking.

    OBJECTIVES: The objective of our study was to determine the efficacy of a single session of 20 min mindful breathing in alleviating multiple symptoms in palliative care.

    METHODS: Adult palliative care in patients with at least one symptom scoring ≥5/10 based on the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) were recruited from September 2018 to December 2018. Recruited patients were randomly assigned to either 20 min mindful breathing and standard care or standard care alone.

    RESULTS: Forty patients were randomly assigned to standard care plus a 20 min mindful breathing session (n=20) or standard care alone (n=20). There was statistically significant reduction of total ESAS score in the mindful breathing group compared with the control group at minute 20 (U=98, n 1 = n 2 = 20, mean rank 1 = 15.4, mean rank 2 = 25.6, median reduction 1 = 6.5, median reduction 2 = 1.5, z=-2.763, r=0.3, p=0.005).

    CONCLUSION: Our results provided evidence that a single session of 20 min mindful breathing was effective in reducing multiple symptoms rapidly for palliative care patients.

  6. Tung YZ, Tan SB
    PMID: 32581002 DOI: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002373
    We present a case of a 64-year-old woman with stage 1 breast cancer. She underwent a modified radical mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy. She reported physical and psychosocial suffering due to her disease and treatment. Four weekly sessions of guided 30-min mindful breathing were delivered by the palliative care team to ease her suffering. The patient reported feelings of calmness, peace and relaxation after each session, with decrease in suffering, negative emotions and physical discomfort. This is the first report on the use of guided 30-min mindful breathing in palliating suffering of a patient with cancer.
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