Angel Wings Spotlight Series Part 2

Interview with Katherine Lim, Home Care Nurse at Dover Park Hospice


Love comes in many different forms– romantic, familial, friendship, compassionate and selfless love in which we have experienced in some way or another. This month, as we celebrate love, it is our privilege to witness selfless love extended towards caring for strangers by the remarkable individuals working at Dover Park Hospice in this series.

In Part I, we spoke with Nurse Manager Pamela Koh. In this second part, Home Care Nurse Katherine Lim — who has been with Dover Park Hospice since 2015 after she graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Honours — shares her experience of caring for end-of-life patients and their loved ones with us. It has been a journey that is, she says, “filled with warmth and kindness”.


“Home is a familiar place where many patients want to be at, towards the end-of-life. Seeing that patients are comfortable and passing on peacefully at home with well-supported family members motivate me to continue being a home hospice nurse."
More about Katherine's career journey with Dover Park Hospice:
1. What inspired you to embark on a career to care for people who are terminally ill — and their families?
My first encounter with Palliative Care was when I was in Junior College where I had volunteered at Dover Park Hospice. Later, I was attached to another hospice as a nursing student, I got the chance to learn more about Palliative Care. Both encounters had greatly motivated me to not only join nursing but specifically Palliative Care. The comforting presence brought to patients by different healthcare professionals and the teamwork they demonstrated play a great part in reassuring both the patients and their loved ones. Death may be gloomy, but the journey is filled with warmth and kindness.

2. What brings you joy in your work as a hospice nurse?
Being a home hospice nurse comes with an unusual set of challenges. Together with social workers and care coordinators, we work as a team in supporting patient and family members at home. Home is a familiar place where many patients want to be at, towards the end-of-life. Seeing that patients are comfortable and passing on peacefully at home with well-supported family members motivate me to continue being a home hospice nurse.

There is a great sense of satisfaction when patients’ and family members’ wishes are fulfilled. The home care team often goes out of our way to bring joy to them. This may include little things such as accompanying a patient to shop for groceries, and something more serious like taking a family portrait. I might not have the chance to participate in all these if I am working in a restructured hospital or in inpatient hospice.

3. In what ways do you bring comfort to end-of-life patients? What are some of the day-to-day and emotional challenges you encounter — and how do you overcome them?

My routine includes going to the patient’s home, checking the vital signs, doing medication reconciliation and assessing and managing patient’s symptoms. I also check in on family members and caregivers to find out how they are coping emotionally and physically.

It can get emotional when family members witness their loved one passing away, or when patients chose to go to a healthcare institution so as not to burden their children even though their wish is to stay at home. When one devotes their all to care for a patient, it can lead to burnout often and easily. So it really helps when you have your team mates supporting you. There is daily handover when I can share the difficulties I’ve had with certain cases. Food is also a great source of comfort and way to de-stress for me especially when I am doing home visits.

As a nurse in a hospice, my mindset is different. Instead of curative treatment, my role is to help patients leave peacefully by meeting their unique physical, emotional, psycho-social, and spiritual needs through holistic palliative care.

4. Can you share a memorable experience/story you've had with a patient at Dover Park Hospice?

I had two patients whom I will forever remember. I journeyed with them from the time they were first diagnosed when they were able to walk, but later become bed-bound. Both patients never failed to bring joy to me whenever I visited them, and they treated me like their grandchild. Even when they were in pain or out of breath, they always put on a cheerful and brave front. I was very sad when they passed on and will never forget the trust and faith they had in me.


For this series, ByCanary created and launched the “Angel Wings” collection in support of the Dover Park Hospice.
We’ve pledged to donate 20% of proceeds from the collection — which consists of a necklace, ring and earrings in an angel wing design.


In case you missed it, read Part 1 of this interview series
with Dover Park Hospice, featuring Nurse Manager Pamela Koh.




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