May 9, 2019, Kuala Lumpur – In conjunction with Palliative Care Awareness Month (PCAM) 2019, Prince Court Medical Centre (PCMC) will be exhibiting Cik Kelabu, a life-sized baby elephant sculpture created by renowned naïve Art artist, Yusof Gajah at the centre’s lobby. The exhibit will be from the 22nd of April till the 30th of June 2019.
Cik Kelabu is one of ten life-sized baby elephant sculptures that was created initially by Yusof Gajah for the ‘Speak Up – There’s an Elephant in the Room’ campaign initiated by Hospis Malaysia to raise awareness on palliative care. It was adopted by PCMC in support of the campaign. Alongside the sculpture are two boards. One details the story of the campaign and Cik Kelabu’s significance as well as PCMC’s Palliative Medicine Specialist, Dr Nick Chong Chung King’s role in palliative care. The other is reserved for the public to display their notes expressing their thoughts on a subject still considered to be a taboo by many in Malaysia.
Palliative care is multi-disciplinary care given to patients who have been diagnosed with a life- threatening illness. It takes into account a patient’s emotional; spiritual; and practical needs while they undergo treatment. It also targets treating negative symptoms or side effects of the disease such as pain; depression; fatigue; loss of appetite; anxiety; and more.
Communication is key here – not only for emotional support, but so that the patient understands all available treatment options and will be able to select one they are most comfortable with. In addition, the palliative care doctor will also work closely with the patient’s other doctors to ensure the treatment plan is aligned with the patient’s needs. In short, it will improve the quality of life of the patient and his or her caregivers – while allowing them control over what they are currently going through.
Speaking at the launch of the exhibition, Prince Court Medical Centre Chief Executive Officer Chong Yee Mun said: “Being in the healthcare industry, we understand that there is a need to provide help and support to not just patients, but to their loved ones and caregivers as well. We aim to do that with the expertise and facilities within our hospital and create a space for patients, caregivers, and the public to understand palliative care better.”
That is precisely the reason behind Cik Kelabu’s creation in the first place for the ‘Speak Up – There’s an Elephant in the Room’, which was launched and officiated in October 2018 by YB Hannah Yeoh, Deputy Minister Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development in KLCC Park Esplanade. The vision for the campaign was for the sculptures to act as striking visuals to get the difficult conversation going on a patient’s journey through a life-limiting illness.
The sculptures were then relocated to various locations in Suria KLCC where they remained on display from mid-October to the 13th of April 2019.
Subsequently, Hospis Malaysia ran another campaign, ‘Speak Up – Because I Matter’, from the 11th to 13th of April 2019 in Suria KLCC, Concourse Level. The public was encouraged to write their thoughts on the topic on Post-It notes before pasting them onto a board. As PCMC recognised a need to keep the conversation going on this very much misunderstood topic – Cik Kelabu’s exhibition is effectively, a pivotal extension of this campaign.
Dr Nick Chong stressed that there was still a very narrowed view of palliative care as most people equated it to death. When in reality, it is an approach to help patients and their families by alleviating any suffering. “If we have the ability to take away a patient’s pain during surgery – why should someone with cancer suffer? Palliative care does not mean death, it is a way of allowing someone to live out the duration of their life in the best way possible – whether it is for three months or three years,” he said.
Dr Nick Chong also added, “Caring for those with a life-limiting illness can be draining and take a toll on family members. Patients may also find it difficult to vocalise their emotions and needs when faced with the prospect of limited time. Here at Prince Court Medical Centre, we provide the best care and support possible to reassure our patients that seeking palliative care is the right decision.”
For more information, please contact Ms. Rosnah Mohamed Tahir, Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager of Prince Court Medical Centre at +6016 683 3946 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.