The 428-bed Yishun Community Hospital (YCH) lives up to its name by involving the community in getting its patients better. It has volunteers who tend rooftop gardens, teach patients crafts or bring books for them to read.
Among its volunteers are young children from The Little Skool- House, which provides nursery and kindergarten classes for children of staff as well as from the neighbourhood. These children spend an hour with patients every Tuesday, talking, playing or learning to cook alongside them.
Madam Oh Quee Eng, 80, moved to YCH 10 days ago after undergoing a knee operation at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH). She said she enjoys interacting with the children.
Natalie Sim, six, said she, too, enjoys the sessions. "It is very fun," she said. "I make them happy, and we play fun games. They smile, they are not sad."
Madam Oh also appreciates the cleanliness, surrounding greenery and attentive staff at YCH.
Speaking at the official opening of YCH yesterday, its chief executive officer, Dr Pauline Tan, said: "KTPH is an acute care hospital designed to offer 'fast medicine' for ill patients with short episodic care.
"Treatment is prompt and precise. However, for patients who do require longer-term sub-acute care and rehabilitation, the acute hospital is not where they should remain."
At the community hospital, Dr Tan said, care was provided without any rush, and staff "have autonomy to individualise activities for patients".
A palliative patient with multiple medical problems suddenly decided he wanted to look good and wanted to colour his hair. His occupational therapist bought hair dye and helped him colour his hair in the ward. He died a few weeks later.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who officiated at the opening, was given a drawing of the hospital done by a patient, Mr Heng Peng Swan, 65. He had studied art in his youth, but not practised it over the past 50 years. Recovering from multiple fractures in a road accident, "he rediscovered his talent in drawing, thanks to the supportive effort of the art therapy group", said Mr Gan.
Not to be outdone, Mr Gan gave the hospital a calligraphy he had personally done. Mr Gan said his calligraphy means "the way of healthy living".
VIDEO: Yishun Community Hospital officially opens. http://str.sg/4QNe