Who are we?
HPCA Foundation is a nonprofit organization with IRS 501c3 tax exempt status. We are dedicated to advocate and promote hospice and palliative care to Chinese communities.
Palliative care, and the medical sub-specialty of palliative medicine, is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness with the goal of improving quality of life.
Why are we here?
Due to a Chinese cultural taboo on the subject of terminal illness and death, awareness and acceptance to hospice and palliative care are very much lacking in the Chinese communities- both overseas and in China.
1. According to a study in 2013, only 11.8% of Chinese-Americans aged 65 and older reported knowing someone who had received hospice care. Even those who had heard of it lacked knowledge of what kinds of services those programs provide and details such as eligibility and insurance coverage.
2. A 2015 report by The Economist Intelligence Unit evaluated 80 countries on the quality of end-of-life care based in five categories: the palliative environment, human resources, the affordability and quality of care, and the level of community engagement. Among the 80 countries evaluated, China was ranked 71st on “Quality of Death,” with its affordability of end-of-life care ranked 65th and quality of end-of-life care ranked at 69th.
Chinese are among the least served population by palliative care in the world.
Taking care of the loved one who is at the end of his/her life journey is an extremely challenging task for Chinese people who live overseas. The trauma from witnessing loved ones suffer without getting access to quality palliative care often leave many live with lifelong painful memories.
We strive to advocate and promote hospice and palliative care in our community through public awareness programs, and mobilize the collective power of the community to support the development of palliative care services so that families facing serious illness and end of life challenges will have better chance to get quality medical service and social support.
For Chinese Americans who live in US, we need to be aware of such service and understand it, so we can make wise medical choices and decisions in case our family or ourselves face serious illness.
We believe that access to hospice and palliative care is basic human rights. Establishing such care into healthcare system is the responsibility of not only the local government but the society and the people. Our activities are based on the premise that
18 million people die in pain and distress each year across the globe (according to WHPCA ,World Hospice Palliative Care Alliance). 10 million of them live in China.
Hospice Palliative Care aims to prevent, relieve, treat suffering.
With aging society, deteriorated environment, high cancer diagnosis rate, serious chronical disease rate, we have to put focus on hospice palliative care.
In China alone where more than 1/5 of world’s population live, an estimated 10 million patients with progressive life-limiting illness do not have access to palliative and hospice care services. This is due to the fact that such services simply do not exist in most of the health care system, which is the result of lack of public awareness and the absence of healthcare system integration with no health care insurance policy support. The quality of death index for China is extremely low in contrast to the country’s rapid economic development and high GDP.
What’s more, with China’s fast urbanization and industrialization leading to poor air and water quality, we are seeing a rapidly increasing number of cancer cases in the population. With the low survival rate of these cancer patients, the number of patients in need of palliative and hospice care is astonishing compared to the scarce services available. In addition to cancer that only accounts for 36% deaths from all other terminal illness, such as heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke (cerebrovascular diseases), Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, and nephritis, the estimated total number of patients needing end-of-life care is more than 10 million each year, but it is reported that less than 1% of them received palliative and hospice services.
It is a void that has to be filled fast. For the patients and family, the time is limited.
Compelled to improve end of life care, and reduce unnecessary pain and suffering for these patients in Chinese communities, HPCA foundation is formally founded in March 2017 starting from an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff.
We attribute this following belief to HospiceUK organization and other leading Hospice organizations in the world, to share the same belief:
- We believe that everyone matters throughout their life right up until they die, and that no one should die in avoidable pain or suffering.
- We also believe that getting access to palliative and hospice care, including pain and symptom control is basic human rights for every individual facing serious illnesses, for all ages, at any stage of their illness trajectory.
- We vision that in new future such care would be incorporated into national health care strategies, making it accessible and affordable for all.
- We aspire to advocate and mobilize social change for improved end-of-life care in Chinese communities.
We are working collaboratively with organizations and community groups to help expand service provision to meet the fast increasing needs of the large population.
Our ultimate goal is for Chinese communities to become better educated and acceptive to palliative care and hospice, and help bring services to patients in various settings: patients’ homes, hospice hospitals, nursing homes, hospice ward in acute hospitals and community healthcare centers, to millions of terminal ill patients and their family.
Our organization is a public charity and operates on support from volunteers. Donations from public are mostly dedicated to support programs to further our mission.
Raising the rank of China’s hospice and palliative care is a profound social change that requires all hands on deck from the entire Chinese community, no matter where we may live.