Speech by SLW at Haven of Hope Sister Annie Skau Holistic Care Centre Charity Concert 2017 (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, at Haven of Hope Sister Annie Skau Holistic Care Centre "Embrace the Last Journey with Love" Charity Concert 2017 today (April 2):

Professor Joseph Kwan (Chairman of the Board of Directors, Haven of Hope Christian Service), Dr Antony Leung (Medical Superintendent, Haven of Hope Sister Annie Skau Holistic Care Centre), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to join you all tonight and show support for this highly meaningful charitable event which raises funds for the operation and service development of the Haven of Hope Sister Annie Skau Holistic Care Centre, or SASHCC in short.

     My warmest congratulations to tonight's host, the Haven of Hope Christian Service (HOHCS), for organising this charity concert, which will help strengthen SASHCC's high quality integrated palliative, infirmary and rehabilitative care.

     The SASHCC was established in 2006 with a mission to assist frail elders, the chronically sick and late stage cancer patients through offering integrated palliative, infirmary and rehabilitative care regardless of patients' socio-economic status. This is to sustain the merits of holistic care inherited from Haven of Hope's founder, Sister Annie Skau. The Centre is privately funded and part of the operation cost is supported by donation. Over the past decade, the SASHCC has served more than 1 800 patients, and it is currently providing free palliative care services to over 50 needy patients each year. With your generous donations, the Centre will be able to expand its Psycho-Social-Spiritual Care Service and Relief & Charity Bed Service for the sick and underprivileged. This will mean a lot to the patients, their families and the community at large.

     In Hong Kong, a number of healthcare institutions and non-governmental organisations provide highly professional end-of-life care for individuals and support for their families. Palliative care also plays an important role in improving the quality of life of patients and their families by helping them cope with the psychological stress and social needs as they prepare for the their loved one's final journey. All these enable our citizens to age and die with dignity and give their family the assurance of high-quality care for their beloved till the very end.

     To enable our senior citizens to stay in the same residential care homes even when their health deteriorates, the Labour and Welfare Bureau has been promoting the continuum-of-care concept in subvented residential care homes for the elderly such that enhanced care can be offered to suit changing needs and circumstances. At the community level, the Social Welfare Department adopts an integrated and family-based approach to assist families of the deceased to cope with grief and mourning. Social workers from our Integrated Family Service Centres offer both support as well as welfare and financial assistance. These include bereavement counselling, needs assessment, assistance on burial matters, financial and housing assistance, care arrangements especially for children and the elderly, social support network mobilisation and referral to clinical psychologists and other medical professionals.

     Ladies and gentlemen, your generous acts of love and benevolence in supporting tonight's charity concert will definitely reinforce the extraordinary promise that our life journey from the beginning to the very end is of inestimable value - and it deserves the best of care and the highest respect.

     I am sure that with the expansion of the Haven of Hope Sister Annie Skau Holistic Centre, Hong Kong's local hospice care development will go from strength to strength and scale new heights in the years ahead.

     On this ending note, may I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the HOHCS and the SASHCC for all their exemplary dedication and valuable contributions. I also wish tonight's concert every success and all of you a most enjoyable evening.

     Thank you.

Ends/Sunday, April 2, 2017
Issued at HKT 22:03