A better rather than longer life
22 October 2012
A study on end of life care preferences, presented at the inaugural conference of the Lien Centre for Palliative Care in Singapore on 17 October, found that Singaporeans are willing to pay more for pain management and quality of healthcare than longer life span.
Researchers from the Lien Centre for Palliative Care interviewed 522 Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 50 and to find out how important factors such as life expectancy, pain management, and cost of treatment are in affecting decisions for palliative care.
Respondents were given hypothetical scenarios where they could trade off some factors against others. They were willing to pay $24,000 a year to relieve severe pain, but only $9,100 to prolong life for another 12 months if they were critically ill.
Presenting the findings, Dr Chetna Malhotra, assistant professor at Lien Centre for Palliative Care, said what people value has implications on where government subsidies should go. She asked: "Does it make sense for the Government to pay for expensive therapies to extend life?"
Based on the findings, Dr Malhotra said "subsidies for end of life treatments may not be a good use of scarce resources... Pain management is at least as critical as prospects for extending life when deciding treatment options."