A groundbreaking ceremony for the first specialty hospital that provides exclusively for palliative care took place in central Taiwan in September. With years of planning and over half a year of back and forth paper work with the government, the Buddhist organization Chengte Cancer Medical Foundation has raised NT2 million in charitable funds for the construction of Chengte Hospital, which is expected to fully function in 2018.
The hospital is currently under construction and will eventually have eleven floors in the building with three basements levels. It will cover an area of 4,132.25 square meters (44,479 square feet) and is expected to provide 90 beds, which is extraordinary since most hospitals can only afford 10-20 beds at most due to the high cost and low profits of running a hospice facility and little NHI premiums support from the government.
Master Yen-Yin, the Chairman of Chengte Cancer Medical Foundation, stresses that since the hospital is constructed by the good will and charity of the public, the hospital will publicize its financial statements to the public on a monthly basis. He also says that as long as the hospital can make ends meet, patients will not be charged any fees although their freewill offerings will be accepted.
Chengte Hospital aims to provide care for advanced cancer patients and non-cancer terminally-ill patients; it will have eight outpatients including family medicine, general medicine, rehabilitation, pain management, palliative care and more. It will be the first independent specialty hospital providing palliative care; all of its ninety beds will be assigned to terminally-ill patients, who require palliative care only. With its cooperation with Lotus Foundation to extend service into nearby communities, more patients will be able to receive care at the end-of-life phase and ensure a quality death and peaceful way of saying goodbye. Once in service, the hospital will keep the nurse-to-bed ratio at 1:1.
As the hospital is founded by a local Buddhist organization, future training and active participation of Buddhist chaplains are highly expected; this will hopefully fill in the relatively weak gap of the Buddhist chaplaincy system in Taiwan.