Assisi Hospice moves to new home

ST VIDEO: JALELAH ABU BAKER
The new Assisi Hospice has a range of common spaces such as a sensory garden, a children's playroom, a daycare centre, dining halls and a roof terrace.
The new Assisi Hospice has a range of common spaces such as a sensory garden, a children's playroom, a daycare centre, dining halls and a roof terrace.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Palliative care provider's new building has 85 beds and can serve more than 2,000 patients

Lush sofa seats in cosy corners, spacious dining halls and a playground are among the improved features at the new premises of palliative care provider Assisi Hospice.

Caregivers can take time out on the seats to grieve or rest, while patients can comfortably dine with their family in the halls, away from their beds. Children have a chance to escape to the playground.

The new Assisi Hospice premises are located just beside its previous site, next to Mount Alvernia Hospital in Thomson Road.

Yesterday, all patients were moved from the old three-storey building. More than 50 clinical staff were involved in the move.

A spokesman for the hospice said it engaged five ambulances and used three of its vans to ferry patients to the new premises.

"Every bed-bound patient in an ambulance was accompanied by a family member and a clinical team comprising a doctor and a nurse," the spokesman added. Patients on wheelchairs were ferried by van.

The new six-storey building will be able to serve more than 2,000 patients a year, double the 1,000 patients it has been serving. There are now 85 beds, up from 37.

Assisi Hospice, which started out as a wing in Mount Alvernia Hospital in 1969, occupied its old premises for more than 20 years.

Among the new facilities is a dedicated ward for dementia patients.

The ward features auto-locking doors, to prevent patients from wandering away or getting lost, and high contrast navy-blue toilet fittings, to allow them to better recognise the fixtures.

Ms Anita Fam, chairman of Assisi's board of directors, said the rooms in the new building also have wider doors to allow patients to be wheeled in on their beds.

Ms Fam said the move was first broached some nine years ago.

She described the new building as "more home-like".

"What is here is what I feel is the reality of a dream dreamt by many people many years ago, and what we feel should be the hallmark of quality hospice care," she added.

Mr Mok Kim Cheong, 64, a liver cancer patient, is motivated to get fit enough to walk because of a new garden that features leaves and flowers of different textures.

"Taking walks in the sensory garden, which is warm and inviting, will be a respite for me and I want to get well enough for visits to the garden."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'Assisi Hospice moves to new home'. Print Edition | Subscribe