Starting Friday, not just terminally-ill cancer patients but non-cancer late-stage patients of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), chronic obstructive respiratory disease (CORD) and chronic liver cirrhosis, can receive hospice services at homes or hospitals.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW)보건복지부 said it had made enforcement decrees to the “Act on Hospice, Palliative Care and the Life-Sustaining Treatment Decision for Patients in Dying Process,” and would implement it on Aug. 4
Doctors in charge and one specialist will decide whether or not patients are terminally ill, taking into account factors such as clinical symptoms, the existence of other diseases, the degree of improvement after providing drugs or surgical procedure, previous treatment progress, and the possibility of other treatments.
For instance, the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) falls below 50 percent in patients with late-stage cardiac insufficiency or cancer, they can be judged as terminally ill. If KPS drops below 50 percent, patients can’t take care of themselves.
Chronic obstructive respiratory disease patients who are out of breath and can’t sit on chairs are considered to be at a terminal stage, and chronic hepatocirrhosis patients who suffer from Child-Pugh C level non-metabolic liver cirrhosis and irrecoverable hepatorenal syndrome are also at the terminal stage.
As the diseases benefitting from the hospice service have been expanded from late-stage cancer to AIDS, CORD and chronic liver cirrhosis, the government will work out advice-type and household-type hospice models. Because the survival periods of the diseases are long and treatments have to be conducted, patients are hospitalized or live at home to get the hospice service.
For the program, the second pilot program to provide insurance coverage for advice-type and household-type hospice will be conducted from Friday. Twenty 20 hospitals, including Seoul ST. Mary’s Hospital서울성모병원, Asan Medical Center서울아산병원 and Severance Hospital세브란스병원 will provide the advice-type hospice service, while 25 hospitals, such as Seoul ST. Mary’s Hospital, Korea University Guro Hospital고려대구로병원, and Ajou University Hospital아주대병원 will implement the pilot program for the household-type hospice service, for one year.
The ministry will expand it to a primary business by complementing the system and insurance payment scheme based on the results of the pilot project.
The ministry held the second meeting of the subcommittee of the National Hospice Committee on July 24 and selected National Cancer Center국립암센 as the central hospice center and Korea National Institute for Bioethics Policy (KoNIBP) 국가생명윤리정책연구원 as the national hospice management organization. The central hospice center will begin operation this month, but the national hospice management organization will do so after next February.
“The ministry will make thorough preparations to implement the system, by holding the national hospice committee as soon as it implements the law, and work out countermeasures by taking into account problems pointed out by experts during the administrative notice period,” Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo said.
Minister Park visited National Cancer Center and checked the preparations for the central hospice center Friday, the first day to implement the law.
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