Mdm Tan Sai Tin was over 80 years old when she passed. She had stage 4 liver hardening, renal failure, and diabetes. While she was single, she had a family who loved her and made sure that she never felt alone, even to the very end.
MWS Bethany Nursing Home – Choa Chu Kang, her final home, provided a dedicated palliative care team to meet her medical, nursing and comfort needs.
Her concerned family however had differences about her Advanced Care Plan. While Mdm Tan wanted to leave peacefully, some members in the family wanted to pursue aggressive treatment to prolong her life as much as possible. “She has no more burdens, please release her from her pain,” was what others in the family felt. There was no consensus within the family.
MWS Assistant Chaplain Chua Chiew Poh visited Mdm Tan and could see that she was in a lot of emotional pain. Knowing the differences in opinion within the family, Chiew Poh called for a family gathering by her bedside one Saturday morning.
Before the gathering, Mdm Tan’s sisters alone paid her a visit to discuss next steps in her care plan. The family finally came to an agreement to fulfill Mdm Tan’s wish of not pursuing further treatment.
When the entire family gathered that Saturday morning, they shared their love for Mdm Tan, asked for her forgiveness, and also extended their forgiveness. Chiew Poh, who facilitated the session, enabled them to share freely and express themselves in ways they usually would not.
“As an Asian family, we aren’t used to expressing our love for our aunt,” said Mdm Tan’s niece, Wei Leng. “This bedside closure brought a sense of completion to her final journey.”
Both Mdm Tan and her family felt a sense of peace after the session. They were ready to say goodbye.
The session also allowed Mdm Tan to sense the impact that she had made in her loved ones over the years. Although she was unable to speak by then, she responded with eyes brimming with tears. Wei Leng said, “The bedside closure benefitted my family tremendously and I hope more families will experience this too, because it was really, really special to us.”