An online petition on the presidential office’s website demanded every medical institution install an obligatory hospice room to help the terminally ill embrace death with dignity.
Korean Society for Hospice and Palliative Care (KSHPC) posted the request on the petition board of the Cheong Wa Dae’s website on Oct. 13. If a petition gains more than 200,000 online signatures within a month, top presidential aides have to respond to the appeal. The petition by the hospice care group garnered 2,572 signatures as of 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Although there are hospice centers where the terminally ill patients and family can maintain a calm life and reach a comfortable death, the number of such facilities is too small for all patients to use and there are too many restrictions,” the group said in the petition. “We hope that patients could experience the hospice care at hospitals where all the dying patients spend final days.”
The start of its process is to install a hospice room in every hospital, it said.
The hospice care advocate group published a press release on Wednesday, appealing to join the petition.
In Korea, few hospitals operate a separate hospice room, apart from hospice care centers, the society said. University hospitals are reluctant to install a hospice room, citing low profitability.
“Most of the terminally ill patients spend their last days at a multi-bed room. Just before death, they get to use an empty single room or nurse’s treating room and face death,” it said.
The national health insurance does not cover the single room. Depending on the size of the hospital, a patient has to pay 100,000 won-500,000 won ($87.8-$439.2) per night at a single room.
“At the final moment of life, the patient and family should be able to stay in a hospice room where they can console each other warmly and say goodbye. Please revise the current system so that hospitals and nursing homes can operate a mandatory hospice room,” the petition said.
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